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Photo: TodayNG

Photo: TodayNG

The 17th anniversary celebration to mark the call for the Republic of Biafra paralysed social and economic activities in Onitsha, Anambra on Monday.

Members of Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State Biafra (MASSOB) – Biafra Independent Movement (BIM) occupied major streets of Onitsha hoisting Biafra flags.

Some members who came from Nnewi, Awkuzu, Ogidi, Nkpor and Aguleri were seen moving on foot, in cars, tricycles and motorcycles which greatly slowed down vehicle and human traffic.

Addressing the members, the Anambra North Zonal leader of MASSOB-BIM, Vincent Iloh, reiterated the resolve of the group to sustain the agitation through peaceful means.

“It is exactly 17 years today; what we in MASSOB-BIM are still saying through non violence is for Biafrans to be granted independence from Nigeria.

“That was what our great hero and the Peoples General, late Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu tried to do in 1967 but was misunderstood.

“This is what the new Biafran leader Chief Ralph Uwazurike has continued to say since 1999 without the use of force.

“Until the needful is done, we will not relent.

“We want Biafra because the resources of our land have been confiscated with military might to develop other areas while we are left to wallow in state of dispair,” Mr. Iloh said.

The army, police, navy and civil defence were on ground during the rally which lasted for several hours to forestall any breach of peace.

In Port Harcourt, police seized the Biafra flag and dispersed procession by the Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) at Government Craft Centre bus stop on Aba road in Port Harcourt on Monday.

MASSOB members were seen on the streets of Port Harcourt decked in light sky-blue uniform with the flag.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that policemen had taken positions at strategic locations in the metropolis as early as 7.30 a.m.

Hundreds of policemen were deployed on the streets of Port Harcourt and its environs to maintain law and order, following the MASSOB rally.

Nnamdi Omoni, spokesman for the police in Rivers, told NAN that the deployment came in response to the planned rally by MASSOB.

Mr. Omoni said the deployment was to prevent possible break down of law and order in the city and its environs.

According to the spokesman, Commissioner of Police in the state, Ahmed Zaki was also out monitoring the security situation.

He said the police would brief the media after the monitoring.