Shame List--The case against
Chioma Ochieze of Abia State, Igboland, Nigeria.
On or about the 23rd of may, 2001, as reported below in the newspaper, Mr. Chioma Ochieze, a lawyer, representing Obingwa West in the Abia State Assembly,
'... called on the police and other law enforcement agents in the state "to invade" the headquarters of the group "and possibly shoot them, if peaceful arrest failed"...'
By about 25th of May, 2001, it appears, from another newspaper report, quoted below, that Mr. Ochieze's call was being heeded:
'...They said the police opened fire when the group hoisted "the Biafran flag,'' resulting in casualties among the Massob members, who have been widely reported to be making plans to launch the Biafran currency on May 30...'
And sure enough, by May 28th, 2001, we get this parsed email message (details below):
[May 28, 2001]
See details below.
Abia Assembly asks police to dislodge MASSOB
MEMBERS of the Abia House of Assembly on Monday asked the state commissioner of police to forcefully dislodge the Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB).
The House took exception to MASSOB's choice of Aba as its operational headquarters, saying the group's activities were endangering peace in the state. It, therefore, urged the police to ensure peace and order.
The Assembly which also observed that "the nefarious activities" of MASSOB were capable of portraying the state in bad light before the rest of the country, dissociated the government and people of the state from the group.
The legislators contended that members of the group were "anti-Abians who do not want peace and the progress of the state," adding that the House did not support any group calling for another sovereign state within the sovereign entity of Nigeria.
Representative of Aba South Constituency in the House, Mr. Obioma Ekpem, had raised alarm over plans by MASSOB to launch their regalia, including the Biafran flag, uniforms, coat-of-arms and currency, this week in Aba.
He explained that the plan had begun causing panic amongst residents of the city some of whom, he noted, were already leaving Aba for fear of a possible breakdown of law and order.
Ekpem argued that the activities of the group, if left unchecked, would kill the economic and commercial life of Aba and called on the state government to ban the existence of the group in the state or order it to relocate to other Igbo cities.
Some, including the Deputy Speaker Chief Emeka Stanley, Barnard Orji, Nnamdi Egege and Orji Lekwuwa, called for an outright disbandment of the group, stressing that their operations were not only affecting economic activities but inimical to the Igbo interest.
Mr. Chima Ochieze, a lawyer, representing Obingwa West, described the activities of MASSOB as "high treason" adding that "no law permits the creation of a sovereign state within one sovereign state, not even in heaven".
He called on the police and other law enforcement agents in the state "to invade" the headquarters of the group "and possibly shoot them, if peaceful arrest failed", urging the police commissioner to use the full force of the law to ensure that the group is ejected.
In their contributions, Mr. Donatus Nwankpa and Mr. Ngozi Uchenwa called for caution on the issue, arguing that, like other militant groups in other parts of the country, MASSOB was acting in the interest of the people of the area, seeking an end to the continued marginalisation of the Igbo.
The Speaker, Mr. Stanley Ohajuruka, who read the resolution, described the matter as "sensitive", adding that the leadership of the group should be invited to shed light on their operations so that the issue could be easily handled.
Meanwhile, MASSOB has threatened to disallow elections in the nine states that make up the former Eastern Nigeria.
The threat was made during an address to mark the first anniversary of "the independence of New Biafra State in Umuahia.
MASSOB secretary, Larry Odinmah who read the address at about 5 a.m. yesterday that "MASSOB shall not permit elections to be held in the eastern region come year 2003. The priority of the people of the region today is for freedom and not for the presidency of Nigeria. No meaningful election can be held in a country where injustice and inequality are permissible. It is inequality in Nigeria that makes a particular tribe feel that it has the inalienable right to concede Presidency to other tribes".
Before the address was delivered, a throng of people reportedly marched through the streets of Umuahia chanting songs before getting to Azikiwe Road, New Umuahia secretariat.
Odinmah in reviewing the past one-year stated that the group was satisfied with progress made but stressed: "We are also resolved to pursue the realisation of our independence from Nigeria through non-violence, affirming to fight injustice, marginalisation, inequality and annihilation of our people in Nigeria".
May 25 2001
3 Feared Dead in MASSOB, Police Clash
Three persons were feared dead on Tuesday in a clash between the Rivers State
police command and activists of the Movement for the Actualisation of the
Sovereign State off Biafra (MASSOB) at Obigbo, near Port Harcourt.
Eye-witnesses told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that trouble broke out
when the MASSOB group wanted to hoist its flag at Obigbo, a border town some
17 km east of Port Harcourt.
They said the police opened fire when the group hoisted "the Biafran flag,''
resulting in casualties among the Massob members, who have been widely
reported to be making plans to launch the Biafran currency on May 30.
The public relations officer of the Rivers police command, Dr. Uche Chukwuma,
confirmed the clash but gave no details on the casualty figure, saying only
that two policemen were injured.
He said that he was yet to receive detailed briefing from the police
commander who led the operation, assuring that the public would be duly
informed when the picture became clearer.
It was learnt that the police cordoned off the area, while many residents of
the town reportedly fled.
The activities of the Massob group appear to have been giving the federal
government sleepless nights, although the group has been known to be
preaching non-violence in its pursuits.
Biafra was the name adopted by the Igbo people when they embarked on a
seccession bid in 1967, a project that resulted to the deaths of two million
people, with thousands of houses owned by the Igbo seized in the neighbouring
The present Rivers state was part of the defunct Owerri province until 1946,
when that arrangement was altered by the then British colonial