THE Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra, MASSOB, yesterday gave the Nigerian Army 48 hours to release its members arrested and detained in Onitsha since last Sunday, saying its non-violent posture should not be mistaken for weakness.
Addressing newsmen in Onitsha, MASSOB Director of Information, Mr. Uchenna Madu, also demanded release of corpses of the organisation’s members allegedly killed same day for proper burial.
Madu, who spoke on behalf of MASSOB leader, Chief Ralph Uwazurike, said the Army was provoking MASSOB by what he called the unwarranted killing and detention of its members.
He said: “The Army in Onitsha is mistaking our non-violent posture for cowardice and weakness, when the same Army has left the Boko Haram to continue wasting lives of innocent citizens of the country with bombs in the North. If this ultimatum is not heeded, the Army and the Federal Government will see the violent side of MASSOB.
“The current security challenges the country is grappling with as a result of the activities of Boko Haram Islamic will be a child’s play if at the expiration of our ultimatum, our members held in different military facilities in the South-East and police cells are still being held by the Army.
“With the kind of treatment MASSOB members are getting from the Army in the South East, we are beginning to believe that the soldiers are out to deal with MASSOB members. We have endured the killing of Ndigbo in the North without reprisal, but we are being pushed to the wall by the Army in our own land.”
Madu said Uwazurike was visibly angry when he learnt of the development in Onitsha, adding that it was unfortunate that the people should be arrested or killed where they were holding a meeting.
It was gathered that the MASSOB members were arrested in different locations in Onitsha where they were making arrangements for the burial of late Ikemba Nnewi, Chief Odimegwu Ojukwu.