The police say it arrested 47 members of Biafra Independence Movement (BIM) and Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) in Aba.
Anthony Ogbizi, Abia police commissioner, disclosed this in an interview with NAN in Aba. He said the persons arrested, including men and women, were being held in Aba.
He said although they were peaceful during their march, they were arrested because they wore army camouflage uniforms and had Biafra flags and insignia with them.
On whether or not BIM and MASSOB were proscribed like the IPOB, the commissioner said they would vet the persons arrested to see if they belonged to IPOB to know what next to do with them.
“We are profiling them and when we finish they would be charged accordingly,” he said.
“The legal department is there. They will advise us before we know what else to do.”
However, the leadership of BIM and MASSOB in Aba said the police arrested 115 of their members in the commercial city.
Fredrick Onyenucheya, zonal leader of the group for Abia south, disclosed this to journalists at the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ) office.
He said about 200 members gathered at Umuorieoma junction near Osisioma junction by 9am and were peacefully marching to No 154 Faulks Road to celebrate the 18th anniversary of hoisting the Biafra Flag in Aba.
“At a point on Faulks Road, at about 10.10am, the Nigerian Police came and began to shoot tear gas canisters at us and many of our members were injured and they arrested over 115 members,” he said.
“They came with over 20 Hilux vans with which they took our members. We want to say that it is unfair for the police to be intimidating and harassing innocent and peaceful citizens moving on the road without disturbing anybody.
“We were only going there to celebrate our anniversary and nothing more. We did not ask anybody to sit at home but to go about their businesses.
“We want to tell the Nigerian Police to release our members they arrested unconditionally because we were on peaceful demonstration.”
He said the celebration was a programme going on in all south-east states and wondered why members in Aba were being singled out for arrest and molestation.