The Southeast was on the boil yesterday as pro-Biafra agitators staged protests in major cities to mark the 49th declaration of the state of Biafra by the late Chief Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu. The declaration led to the 1967 Civil War, which lasted till January 1970. No fewer than two million people died in the 30-month war.
But the recent agitation was given a fillip by the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB), an organisation propelled by Nnamdi Kanu, who is standing trial for alleged treason. There were protests or planned protests in capital cities – Owerri, Abakaliki, Umuahia and Enugu. There were also protests in commercial cities of Aba and Onitsha, where it was fiercest, with a big casualty figure.
Protests were also held in Asaba, the Delta State capital, Port Harcourt, the Rives State capital and Ikom, Cross River State. In Onitsha, the protesters clashed with a security team of police, soldiers and naval ratings. Five protesters were killed and soldiers injured. The Police confirmed two of their men were killed in Asaba by the violent protesters, who also lost five people.
In Port Harcourt, protesters blocked the East-West Road, which is the major artery of the South, before the Police moved in and arrested 13 of them.