In spite of the crack in the main pro-secession group, many cities in Nigeria’s South East were grounded on Monday following the stay at home order of the Members of Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State Biafra (MASSOB).
The stay at home and March was called by a factional leader of MASSOB, Mr Ralph Nwazurike, on the umbrella of Biafra Independent Movement (BIM)
The activities were y to mark the 17th anniversary of the call for republic of Biafra.
Economic and social activities were paralysed in Onitsha, Enugu, Aba, Owerri and Awka since Monday.
But reports say that no fewer than 170 agitators have been arrested by the police.
Members MASSOB occupied major streets hoisting `Biafra’ flags as markets, motor parks and shops and offices closed.
Some agitator from Nnewi, Awkuzu, Ogidi, Nkpor and Aguleri converged to join others in Onitsha, the commercial nerve centre of South East.
Addressing the members, the Anambra North Zonal leader of MASSOB-BIM, Mr Vincent Iloh, reiterated the resolve of the group to sustain the agitation through peaceful means.
“It is exactly 17 years today; what we in MASSOB-BIM are still saying through non- violence is for Biafrans to be granted independence from Nigeria.
“That was what our great hero and the Peoples General, late Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu tried to do in 1967 but was misunderstood.
“This is what the new Biafran leader Chief Ralp Uwazurike has continued to say since 1999 without the use of force.
“Until the needful is done, we will not relent.
“We want Biafra because the resources of our land have been confiscated with military might to develop other areas while we are left to wallow in state of dispair”, Iloh said.
In Enugu, 41 members of the group were arrested. Enugu State Police spokesman, Mr. Ebere Amaraizu, confirmed the arrests.
The leader of Biafra Independence Movement (BIM), Mr. Ralph Uwazuruike, challenged the police to produce reason for the arrests, pointing out that his group was not violent.
He also dis-associated his organisation from the May 30 sit-at-home ordered by the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB.