By Olanrewaju Oyedeji
Polity watchers have tasked the Federal Government of Nigeria to take even more urgent steps to defuse the growing spate of political crisis in different parts of the country.
Of particular concern to them is the fact that hitherto pacifist groups like the Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra, MASSOB, are now being sucked into the unhelpful vortex of violence.
In one such recent incident, the police arrested eight and wounded four members of the Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) who had been allegedly involved in the killing of two policemen in Asaba, the capital of Delta State.
The arrests were made by the Delta State Police Command on Monday.
According to a statement signed by the acting Police Public Relations Officer, Mr Charles Muka, the members of the group had attacked policemen and army patrol team at three locations at Cable Point and Abraka areas where they killed two policeman, injured two others and made away with one AK.47 rifle and one smoke gunner.
The group was also said to have thrown two of the injured policemen into the River Niger at Cable Point before moving ahead to damage a military and police patrol van.
The police statement also confirmed that a pregnant woman was hit by a stray bullet and is currently receiving treatment at the Federal Medical Centre, Asaba.
The police said they had restored normalcy in the State capital, but advised parents and guardians to warn their children against unlawful actions.
The group also held demonstrations in some other south eastern states.
Some members of MASSOB were similarly arrested in Imo State
In Anambra State members of MASSOB mounted road blocks and set bonfire in Nkpor and Onitsha causing the roads to be deserted.
According to the Anambra State Commissioner of Police, Mr Hassan Karma, the suspected members of MASSOB gathered at a school in Nkpor with identifying flags emblazoned with the rising sun symbols and charms but with mission unknown.
In Imo State Police Command arrested over 20 members of MASSOB for what they termed disturbance of public peace.
While parading the members of the group at the command headquarters in Owerri, the command’s Public Relations Officer, Andrew Enwerem, said that the group were rounded up around Tetlow Street by Okigwe road at about 11AM where they were said to be gathering to storm the city metropolis.
Alarmed particularly by what they term the increasing militarisation of the erstwhile pacifist group, the polity watchers urge that government should embark on accelerated engagement of all aggrieved groups within the south East to avert another looming disaster in the nation.