[dropcap]T[/dropcap]he Central Naval Command (CNC) of the Nigerian Navy yesterday denied the allegation that its operatives killed members of the Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) in Anambra State.
The CNC with headquarters in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, has Anambra, Kogi, Edo, Delta and Bayelsa states as its Areas of Responsibility (AoR).
The Flag Officer Commanding (FOC), CNC, Rear Admiral Stanley Ogoigbe, told reporters at the command’s headquarters in Yenagoa, that the alleged killing was false.
Ogoigbe spoke against the background of conflicting reports that a clash between members of a pro-Biafra group, Indigenous Peoples of Biafra and Navy personnel in Onitsha, Anambra State, left some members of the group dead.
Some reports claimed that 10 persons were shot dead during the said clash while other sources said between three and five persons were murdered.
But the FOC said naval operatives only shot into the air to scare a large number of MASSOB members on a protest march towards the Onitsha head bridge.
He said the protesting youths already overran the police officials on duty at the bridge when the naval personnel shot into the air to disperse them. He said nobody was injure, let alone, killed in the incident.
According to Ogoigbe: “No such act was ever committed. The MASOB group was on a protest march. They overran the policemen that were on duty and were coming towards the Navy personnel.
“As they approached, the Navy fired warning shots into the air to scare them away and they all dashed away. There was never any body that died in the process.
“To our surprise, MASSOB started claiming that Navy has killed two of their men. I don’t know what they wish to achieve with this propaganda, fabricating stories against the Navy.
He added: “We just want all well meaning Nigerians to know that no MASSOB member was killed in that area of Anambra State where the Navy was keeping peace and carrying out their legitimate duties.
“It was not only Navy that was there, the police and other security agencies were also there.
“And they all confirmed that nobody was killed. I don’t know where MASSOB manufactured their story.”
Corroborating the FOC’s position, Commanding Officer, Naval Outpost, Onitsha where the incident happened, Navy Capt. Dika Kwabe, said there was no proof in the claim by MASSOB that its members were killed.
Kwabe said the Commissioner of Police in charge of Anambra State Police Command had addressed the press to debunk the report.
He also called on the Ohaneze Ndigbo, which he described as a respectful body, to detach itself from being used by baseless rumours being peddled by the MASSOB group to create disaffection between security men and the people.