The Police didn’t kill anybody during last Friday’s protest of Nnamdi Kanu-led Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and its sister organisation, Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign States of Biafra (MASSOB) in Port-Harcourt, the Rivers State Command said yesterday.
Rivers Commissioner of Police, Francis Odesanya, said the command instead arrested 65 protesters for staging what he called unlawful protest, which he claimed amounts to treasonable offence.
Odesanya said this in a statement by the Deputy Commissioner of Police Operations, Ahmed Magaji.
The police chief said his men neither shot nor killed any of his protesters, saying they were only dispersed.
The CP noted the protesters did not seek permission before embarking on the rally but insisted the police operatives applied minimum force in dispersing them.
Odesanya said: “Suspected members of the Indigenous People of Biafra took laws into their hands yesterday, organised and staged an unlawful protest in the Port Harcourt metropolis, thereby disturbing the peace of the state, disrupting free flow of traffic.
“About 65 of them were arrested at different points within the metropolis, being suspected members of Indigenous People of Biafra.
“Our men used minimum force in containing the protesters. No casualty was recorded, no death recorded.”
He further stressed that the command will ensure that the continued peace in the state is sustained.
The agitators organised a solidarity rally in support of the victory and swearing-in of American President, Donald Trump in the major cities they claim to be their territories.
The rally, which was relatively peaceful in parts of the metropolis, almost turned bloody at a point.
The protesters were intercepted by police and military operatives at different parts of the city.
Those from the neighbouring Umuahia and Aba in Abia state, who entered Rivers through the Obigbo, Oil mill axis of Port Harcourt headed towards the Diobu area where majority of their supporters in the state reside and engage in business.
They were however stopped by the military at the Bori camp where gun shots were heard to disperse them.
But the unrelenting agitators scampered for safety and reconvened, heading through another route.
They were however intercepted again at the waterlines and St. Johns junctions all in Port Harcourt/Aba Express by heavily armed soldiers with trucks.
The protest practically shut down Port Harcourt.
Human and vehicular movements in the city were grounded, leading to unprecedented traffic lockdown.
Some media reports said no fewer than 11 persons were killed in the showdown with the police.
But MASSOB Director of Information, Rivers State Command, Anthony Anukem countered the police denial.
He told our correspondent that two of the three protesters allegedly shot by security operatives died yesterday in an undisclosed hospital in Port-Harcourt.