Some pro-Biafra protesters, seeking the actualisation of Biafra nation, have blocked the Onitsha-Owerri expressway in eastern Nigeria, truncating business activities in one of the nation’s major commercial cities, Onitsha
According to an eyewitness, the protesters, who were agitating for the release of their leader, Nnamdi Kanu, have shown no sign of ending the siege which had lasted for more than six hours, leaving commuters and motorists stranded.
Mr Kanu is standing trial on a three-count charge of criminal conspiracy, intimidation and belonging to an unlawful society which he has pleaded not guilty to.
His trial on Tuesday was stalled due to the absence of the judge.?? Though soldiers are reported to be at the scene of the protest, they have allegedly made no attempt to disperse the crowd, saying that their presence is merely to ensure the protest does not degenerate to violence.
One of the protesters told Channels Television that they would not leave the road.
“As you can see, people are gathered.
“We are not happy and we are determined to stay here for more than three days until they release our director, Nnamdi Kanu, the person the DSS is holding hostage.
“They have to release him, if they don’t, we will not leave this place,” the protester said.
While they protest, commuters lament the man-hour wasted, as some said they had been in a particular spot for more than six hours.
Security agencies had issued warnings to the protesters, urging them to end the protest or face the full wrath of the law.
Despite these warnings the group has continued to hold protests in different cities in the South-east and south-south.
The Police Commissioner in Anambra State, Hosea Karma, said that the police had been on ground to ensure that the protesters do not violate the law.
He told Channels Television in a telephone interview that the Indigenous People of Biafra came out in their numbers all over from other south-eastern states.
About 4,000 protesters gathered demanding for the Biafra nation and the release of Mr Kanu.
“We have tried to appeal to them.
“As much as they say they are exercising their freedom of association, movement and speech, they should realise that where their freedom stops is where the freedom of other law abiding citizens of the state starts.
“They should realise that they have no right to block the express way.
“They have actually not blocked the express-way. But the problem is that they are there in about four to five thousand in number.
“What the security agencies have done since morning is to try and control them in a manner that they don’t block the road.
“But because of their large number, members of the public were apprehensive and many of them abandoned their vehicles on the highway jam-packing the highway.
“Because owners of the vehicle have abandoned their vehicle on the highway, what we are trying to do now is to try and tow the vehicle off the road so that the road users will continue to use the road,” Mr Karma, said.