Thousands of members of Indigenous Peoples of Biafra, IPOB, stormed the streets of Port Harcourt Tuesday on a massive protest.
They took over the Aba, Oyigbo axis of Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, southern Nigeria, shutting down the Port Harcourt/Aba expressway.
Over 50 military and police trucks and armoured tanks conveyed personnel to the busy Eleme Junction interchange to prevent the protesters from getting to Government House, Port Harcourt, where they insist they must see Governor Nyesom Wike.
The protest crippled movement of people who have business and social activities in and around Aba, Oyigbo and the East West road Eleme, Onne Axis that is host to two major Port Harcourt refineries, Indoroma-Eleme Petrochemicals, Onne Ports Oil and Gas Free Zone that has over 100 companies located in it.
Vehicular movement was stalled at the Eleme Junction interchange where there is a heavy presence of combined team of military, police and other security agencies.
At the time of this report soldiers and policemen deployed at First Artillery at Okporo road had started firing both teargas and life bullets to scare the protesters.
There is confusion everywhere as people scamper in all directions to avoid being hit by stray bullets.
An eyewitness said that “thousands of protesters coming from Aba, Abia State seem to have overwhelmed the security men who are reluctant to use maximum force. Please nobody should dare come near Aba Port Harcourt/Expressway or Okporo road. As I call you now, I am speaking from where I am taking cover to avoid stray bullets from obviously infuriated security men who are being dared by pro-Biafra youths from Aba who had grounded business and social activities in the commercial city of Aba.”
Another eyewitness said as “I talk to you now the protesters are daring the security men. The protesters should go to their states in Abia, Imo, Anambra, Ebonyi and Enugu states and stop disturbing the peace of Port Harcourt. If they are protesting against the arrest and detention of Nnamdi KANU, the Director of Radio Biafra, they should go and protest in Abuja, not Port Harcourt.”
Wenada Weli, another eyewitness said: “The pro-Biafra protesters have right to protest but we, Rivers people who don’t support Biafra should be allowed to go to their various business places.”
The last major protest of the pro-Biafra youths on Tuesday October 20, in streets of Port Harcourt saw the arrest of 20 youths who allegedly tore Nigerian flags and were charged with treasonable felony offence which attracts capital punishment.
Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers had descended hard on protesters who disrupted social and economic activities in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, on Tuesday 20 October under the platform of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, warning against such insidious actions again by anybody or group in the state.
Wike who was peeved by the protest by members of the IPOB in Port Harcourt, warned that such demonstrations will no longer be tolerated by his administration.
Insisting on the indivisibility of Nigeria, which he swore to protect, the governor said the actions of the IPOB members are capable of causing chaos in the state.
The Governor who gave the warning in statement issued by his Opunabo Inko-Tariah, the immediate past Senior Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, said that “as the Chief Security Officer of the state who swore to protect life and property, he will not tolerate actions that will lead to a breakdown of law and order in the state.”
Dissociating himself and the state from the protest, Governor Wike warned that the coercive legal machinery will be set in motion against any group that will disrupt the peace in the state.
He enjoined residents and all those transacting businesses in the state to go about their lawful duties, assuring them of safety. However, IPOB members disregarded the Governor’s warning and embarked on another massive protest that has now paralyzed the state.