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    Headline: Buhari, Igbo leaders meet at the presidential villa Abuja, See full story here

    Twenty-four hours after the bloody Biafra Day protests, President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday met with some Southeast leaders at the Presidential Villa in Abuja. The Monday protests shook Onitsha, Owerri, Aba, Abakaliki, Enugu, Asaba, Ikom and Port Harcourt.

    Two policemen and five protesters were killed in Asaba. The military said soldiers were injured in Onitsha where it confirmed the death of five protesters. Many of the protesters were arrested. The 18-man delegation, led by former Senate President Ken Nnamani, included All Progressives Congress (APC) National Auditor George Moghalu; Senators Ifeanyi Ararume and Osita Izunaso and former House of Reps member Sharon Ikeazor; former Executive Vice-Chairman of Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC) Ernest Ndukwe. Also in the team were the APC National Vice-Chairman (Southeast), Emma Eneukwu; Chief Austin Edeze; Dr. Uzoma Obiyo and Mr. Chris Akomas. The leaders arrived in a bus belonging to the Ken Nnamani Leadership Institute. They met privately with the President under the aegis of Southeast Group for Change. The delegation ýdeclined to speak with reporters at the end of the meeting.

    As he walked past reporters, Nnamani only replied to the question on whether Biafra came up for discussion during the meeting with: “No, no, not now.” No official statement was issued on the meeting. The President also met with governors of Zamfara, Akwa Ibom, Edo, Katsina, Ondo and Imo states at the State House. Also yesterday, Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Solomon Arase directed that members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), who were arrested in connection with the killing of three policemen on Monday, be charged with murder. The IG also ordered the Assistant Inspectors General of Police (AIG) and the Commissioners of Police (CPs) to immediately disarm members of the group.

    Arase, condemning the killing by members of IPOB, also directed that any member found in possession of firearms be arrested and brought to justice. A statement by police spokesperson Olabisi Kolawole said: ”IGP Arase also directed the arrest of any member of the group found in possession of firearm and bring him or her to justice, while all IPOB activists arrested in connection with the killing of the policemen should be charged to court with murder. “Following the manifestation of the disposition of the armed Independent People of Biafra (IPOB) activists to undertake premeditated attacks on police officers engaged in operations aimed at restoring public order in states in the South-East and South-South geopolitical zone of the country, the Inspector-General of Police, IGP Solomon Arase has directed the Assistant Inspectors General of Police and the Commissioners of Police in the affected area to disarm members of the group operating firearms immediately.”

     On the attacks on policemen, the IG said: “The targeted attacks on police personnel, who have been performing their statutory functions in the most professional and civil manner since the latest resurgence, portrays the IPOB activists who are orchestrating the insurrection as having crossed the threshold in their misguided attempt to test the common will of the nation”. Arase assured Nigerians of the police’s commitment to safety and stressed that they will continue to diligently work towards eliminating any threat to internal security. Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu condemned the reported killing of young men and women by security operatives in parts of the Southeast. Ekweremadu, speaking at the plenary session of the Senate, drew the attention of the lawmakers to the bloody protesters. The deputy senate president noted that the country had recorded so much bloodshed, such that security agencies must apply caution in quelling perceived disturbances in any part of country so as to prevent young men and women from being killed. He said:” Those of us who had the opportunity of looking at the papers this morning would know that most of the newspapers had front page stories of bloodbath in the Southeast. Yesterday, I had a number of calls about the disturbing clash between youths in different parts of the Southeast, Southsouth and security agencies, leading to the death of many people; both the young men and security personnel.

    “I would like to use this opportunity under Order 43 to say that the security agencies must apply caution in trying to quell disturbances. We have had so much of bloodbath in this country under different circumstances and we cannot continue to lose our young men because the future of this country belongs to them. “It is important that we rise to condemn any act of killing in any part of this country, especially the ones that concern the major part of our future, which remains the young men and women of this country. “We are now in a democracy and people should be entitled to speak their minds; to assemble under responsible and lawful circumstances;

    and the security agencies must also be responsible in dealing with those circumstances to ensure that lives are not lost unnecessarily. “I wish to bring this to the notice of the Senate for us to take note and possibly for the states involved to set up enquiries to find out what led to these clashes; the number of people lost and to ensure that this does not happen in the future.” Senate President Bukola Saraki did not allow any debate of the issue. Saraki said: “I think that the point he has raised must draw attention and we see what necessary action will be taken in order to address this matter.”

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