June 1, 2016

Anambra State government releases official statement of Biafran War Memorial Day incident

Anambra State government releases official statement of Biafran War Memorial Day incident 

Following the killing of dozens of unarmed people when Nigerian Army soldiers opened fire inside St Edmunds Catholic Church Nkpor, which lead to a reprisal attacks on policemen, leaving two officials dead at Niger Bridge – NGLatest can authoritatively report, the Anambra State government has released a press statement to address the incident.

Read the statement:

Gentlemen of the Press,

1. I convened this conference today to
offer some clarifications on the crisis that erupted in Nkpor yesterday
between the law enforcement agents and the young men and women who
staged a peaceful demonstration under different names to mark the annual
Igbo Day. This conference became a necessity following the curious
interpretations given to the incident by different segments of the
media.

2. However, we are worried that the recent crisis in Nkpor
appears to have opened an unpleasant vista on the reportage of issues
of grave national importance in the contemporary history of the Nigerian
press. We are concerned at how a strain of virulent sensationalism
appears to have crept into the various accounts given by different media
platforms on the incident (We hope for a more cautionary approach that
takes cognizance of the fragile strands of national unity and the
supremacy of objectivity over fanciful headlines in professional
journalism).

3. It was in a bid to provide a balanced perspective
on the matter that we issued a Press Statement yesterday to serve as a
guide to journalists whose aim is to provide an objective account on the
crisis to the public. Unfortunately, much to our perplexity, a great
number of people preferred the sensational to the factual. It is for the
purpose of separating the imaginary from the hard facts that we wish to
restate as follows –

i. That the peaceful demonstration by
youths who allegedly belong to the Movement for the Actualization of the
Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) and the Indigenous People of Biafra
(IPOB) to mark the Igbo Day was hijacked by hoodlums whose designs were
antithetical to the peace and security of Anambra State.

ii. That
these elements who infiltrated the peaceful demonstration, turned
violent at Nkpor; fired live bullets at the policemen who were detailed
to watch the procession and ensure that it was peaceful and burnt down a
patrol van to send a dangerous signal to the entire neighbourhood that
Anambra had lost the peace we had all enjoyed for two unbroken years.

iii.
a. Nothing happened inside St Edmunds Catholic Church Nkpor. The confrontation was at a nearby Primary School.
b. No house was burnt. We counted about 2 cars at Eke Nkpor and a motorcycle at Afor Nkpor.
c.
His Excellency, Governor Willie Obiano has already expressed his
deepest condolences to families who lost their dear ones to this
avoidable shootout.
d. Items recovered
i. Dynamite
ii. Charms
iii. Machetes
iv. Banners (IPOB etc)
iv.
That the actual number of casualties can be ascertained from the office
of the Commissioner of Police in Anambra State as against the curious
figures being bandied in the press.
v. That contrary to the
sensational report alleging that some citizens who took shelter in a
church were murdered in cold blood inside the chapel, no such incident
happened in actuality. My team visited Nkpor this morning to verify that
claim from the residents and it was dismissed as dubious and
misleading. However, there was a gun battle between those criminal
infiltrators and the police in the premises of a nearby primary school.
We urge the general public to disregard this claim as it is false. It is
the duty of the Obiano administration to protect the life and property
of every Nigerian resident in Anambra State and a threat to the life of
any citizen will be resisted with the strongest possible force.
vi.
We want to assure Ndi Anambra that calm has since returned to Nkpor and
that people have resumed their normal lives under the re-assuring
protection of the law.
vii. We wish to appeal to our colleagues in
the media and various Nigerians who have assumed the sacred duty of
citizen journalism with their mobile phones to always place national
interest far and above other considerations, especially in a season of
anomie as the one our dear country has found itself in.
viii. Thank you.

Ogbuefi Tony Nnachetta
Hon Commissioner for Information and Strategy
Anambra State.

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