THE GUARDIAN HEADLINE: Pro-Biafra agitators in failed bid to seize Enugu government house

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Members of the Biafra Zionists Federation (BZF) made a failed attempt at forcibly taking over the Enugu State government house yesterday.
The secessionist group had planned to use the premises to proclaim an independent state of Biafra.
About 30 BZF members, including their leader Benjamin Onwuka, were arrested in the process.
The action came in defiance of a sit-at-home order by the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB). IPOB, in commemoration of slain Biafra supporters, had directed all residents of the southeast to stay indoors.
The police, however, admitted only 21 persons were detained, saying a manhunt was ongoing to find other accomplices in the “treasonable” offence.
Military fighter jets repeatedly flew past the southeast axis in what might have been a show of force, to prevent a breakdown of law and order.
As early as 7:30 a.m., the agitators marched through Bissala Road, Independence Layout, Enugu, to the Nza Street gate of government house.


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The men were draped in Biafra flags. Onwuka was adorned in Jewish attire. They chanted Biafra songs as they marched.
At the gate, however, armed police officers stopped the procession, which had asked to see Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi for a “peaceful dialogue.”
While an argument went on, truckloads of policemen arrived and began hurling the members into the vehicles. Many who resisted arrest were beaten and forced into the vans.
Others who fled were pursued by the police and arrested.
The commotion caused panic. Motorists plying the government house axis made quick detours through adjoining routes. Some government house staff and guests scampered to safety.


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For over an hour, movement through the area was restricted, as fiery-eyed security operatives manned the government house axis, frisking persons entering the premises.
It will be recalled that BZF had asked Biafra supporters to ignore IPOB’s sit-at-home order and gather at the government house for the declaration and hoisting of the Biafra flag.
Onwuka had addressed at least four separate press conferences within the month, claiming BZF had the backing of the United States of America and Israel, and stressing that previous observances of the restriction order achieved nothing.
The group’s Deputy Leader, Chief Ambrose Ugwu, confirmed the arrests, saying it was the will of God but would not deter BZF from “achieving Biafra”.
“What happened today is how God wants it, because you cannot extricate yourself from your enemy without quarrelling with him. Our leader, Benjamin Onwuka, has done all he could to liberate our people from bondage. But what baffles me is that our people have continued to sabotage his efforts.
“It is not Federal Government that ordered today’s arrest or invited the policemen, who rounded up our people at Enugu government house. Southeast governors and our political leaders invited them.
They did it because they don’t want Onwuka to be the one that will take the glory. But they are wasting their time,” Ugwu said.
Asked what the mission of the agitators was, he said they were at the venue for the “declaration of Biafra’s independence, as promised… The American president summoned President Buhari some weeks back and warned him that he should not interfere with our activities.


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