By OKECHUKWU OBETA, Awka
Youths and women numbering over one hundred believed to be members of the Indigenous People of Biafra ( IPOB) yesterday stormed St Joseph’s Catholic Church, Ekwulobia, Aguata local government area of Anambra state, forcing State governor, Chief Willie Obiano to flee church.
The suspected IPOB members besieged the place of worship adorned in Biafra insignias chanting Biafra songs, shouting that the state governorship election slated for November 18 would not hold.
The Biafra agitators according to a source in the area started converging in the church shortly after Governor Obiano arrived the Church for worship.
The source narrated that the Biafra agitators besieged the gate of the church shouting, “No election in Anambra State; “ we want referendum “, “No referendum, no election”.
The governor’s security men on sighting the protesters were said to have rushed and locked up the entrance gate of the church.
The source said, “As their (IPOB’) confrontation with the police continued, the IPOB numbers continued to enlarge. “I think they were reinforcing from Onitsha.As their number continued to increase, the governor’s security had to smuggle him out of the church.”
A member of the governor’s press crew who pleaded anonymity , however said the the church service had ended before the governor left and that the governor even addressed the church at the end of the service.
He said that the governor was not smuggled out of the church.
He said, “The issue was that the security men had to stop the agitators at the gate of the church, when they started shouting “no election, no election”
“The governor even addressed the issue while speaking to the congregation. He assured that there would be election in the state.
“He said nobody can’t stop election in Anambra state; the governor said most of the anti- election protesters are not from Anambra State.”
Reacting to the unfortunate incident the Anambra Police Commissioner, Mr Garba Umar warned that the police would no longer tolerate such impunity.
He stated that the intension of the protesters was to attack the governor.
“You, press people should report this. We will no longer tolerate this impunity from anybody.
“Why should they protest to the church. The church is a place of worship; and not a place of protest. It is obvious that they had criminal intention to attack the governor.
“ The police had to stop them at the gate. If they had dared my men; it would have been a different story. We can’t watch anybody breach public peace in this state. They should be warned to desist from this impunity, the CP stated.
A group of youths believed to be members of the Indigenous People of Biafra had about two weeks ago, allegedly disrupted a church function attended by the governorship candidate of the Progressives Peoples Alliance, Mr. Godwin Ezeemo.
The unfortunate incident happened at Odoekpe, Ogbaru Local Government Area of the state.
It would be recalled that for quite some times now the IPOB had been issuing warnings to the federal government that the November 18 Anambra state gubernatorial election would not hold insisting that the Federal Government should rather conduct a referendum to determine a sovereign state for Biafra.
The Biafra campaign group stated that Anambra State the epi- centre of the Igbo nation and as such the state holds a strategic position in the Biafra struggle.