Anambra State Police Command has detained a Catholic priest, Rev. Fr. Samuel Aniebonem, and five other persons on the allegation that they belong to the Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB).
MASSOB Director of Information, Mazi Chris Mocha, said Fr. Aniebonem and the others were arrested by the anti-kidnapping unit of the Nigeria Police Force, Awkuzu, Oyi Local Government Area, which used to serve as the Anambra State headquarters of the banned Special Anti-Robbery Squad, SARS.
Aniebonem, who works at St Patrick’s Cathedral Church, Awka, hails from Ifitedunu town, where three persons were arrested when the police raided MASSOB office in the area last week.
It was gathered that trouble for the cleric began when he visited the State Criminal Investigation Department to inquire about his 87-year-old in-law, Chief Sylvester Dinyelu, who was among those arrested earlier, for his possible release’’.
According to Mocha, instead of briefing the priest on the reasons for Dinyelu’s arrest, the police arrested him on the suspicion that he too might be a member of movement.
Those arrested with Fr. Aniebonam were Udebunu Anachuna, his driver, as well as Christian Ifeji, Johnson Anagor and Kanayo Madu.
Mocha said that a similar thing occurred in Onitsha on Tuesday last week when one Mathew Ani was arrested on allegation of belonging to the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).
He called for a halt in the incessant arrests by police, arguing that such actions negated the principles of the right to free association and movement of the citizens as contained in the Nigerian constitutions as amended.