The Police yesterday confirmed the arrest of 51 ‘Jewish worshippers’ as they staged a peaceful march along some major streets in Umuahia, Abia State, calling for a Jewish nation.
State Police Public Relations Officer, Geoffrey Ogbonna, who confirmed the action, said those arrested with Biafra insignia included 10 females and 41 males,
They carried Biafra Insignia and Israeli flags during the march that took off from their praying location in the premises of leader of Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu.
A convoy of four security patrol vans trailed them as they marched, leaving a distance of about 100 meters away.
Addressing journalists, one of the protesters who gave his name as Israel Ibe, said: “Our peaceful march was informed by the need to have a Jewish nation in Biafra land. We need to be allowed, as we are not free being with the Nigeria government.
“You cannot keep yam and goat together. Their culture and religion is not the same with ours. So, there is no need being together, as the time has expired for us to have our own country.”
He disclosed that the worshippers informed the police and some government agencies before the peaceful protest.
However, the Chief Imam of Abia State, Sheikh Ali Ukiwo, described the action as bad, untimely and uncalled for, adding that historically in Igbo land, December is the month of celebrations.
Reacting, IPOB asked the police in Umuahia, to release without further delay, the Jewish worshippers it arrested during the march for Biafra referendum and freedom.
The group threatened to notify Jewish community all over the world, particularly Jewish worshipers in Israel and other parts of the world about the arrest.
In a statement to The Guardian in Enugu yesterday, Media and Publicity Secretary, Emma Powerful, IPOB alleged that the members were arrested at various locations in Umuahia, for merely exercising their fundamental rights.
The group cautioned the police and army to stop the humiliation and harassment of anybody identified with IPOB family worldwide, or face the consequences.
IPOB also urged the state police commissioner and governor, Okezie Ikpeazu to ensure the immediate release of the protesters who committed no crime.
Meanwhile, leader of the Movement for the Actualisation of Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB)
Uchenna Madu, in a statement, warned the leadership of Igbo Delegates Assembly (IDA) against its unguided and unnecessary marching order to Igbo people residing in northern states.