Five individuals have been apprehended by the anti-kidnapping section of the Anambra State Police in Awkuzu.
This follows a raid on the group’s office in the Ifitedunu area of the state. Newsmen reported that the cleric, who is an in-law of one of the arrested MASSOB members, has gone to the State Criminal Investigation Department (SCIID) to ascertain the circumstances that led to the 87-year-old in-law’s arrest and may be able to secure his release.
The priest, Reverend Fr. Samuel Aniabonem, was also arrested upon arrival at the station on suspicion of being a member of the Non-Violence and Non-Exodus Movement (NEM).
The driver of Fr. Aniabonem who drove him to the station was also arrested, as well as Mr Christian Ifeji and Johnson Anagor. A similar incident occurred in Onitsha when Mr Mathew was arrested.
Mathew claimed not to be a member of the Indigenous People’s State of Biafra (IPOB), but that he was a member of the British Indian Mutiny (BIM)-MASSOB.
A source who spoke to newsmen on the condition of anonymity said that Mathew is currently being held in the Area Command’s cell at the Onitsha police station.
The source further said that the matter is still being investigated. According to the source, the MASSOB has hired a lawyer to secure the release of all its members, including the 87-year-old Mathew.
The DSP, Onitsha Branch, responded to the news by releasing a statement in which they stated that their operatives, acting on credible information, had stormed the MASSOB’s office on the 25th of September, 2023, and found a number of incriminatory items and materials that showed a lack of loyalty to the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Meanwhile, investigations are still presently ongoing.