The Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) yesterday said plans were at advanced stages in preparation for the first in its three-stage referendum process towards the peaceful and non-violent restoration of the nation of Biafra.
It said its decision to hold the first of the three plebiscites later this year had vindicated its resilience in sticking to the principles of non-violent agitation for Biafra in the face of government brutality and treachery from enemies within.
In a statement signed by its Publicity Secretary, Emma Powerful and made available to The Guardian in Enugu, the IPOB said efforts geared towards the first referendum was gathering unstoppable momentum, adding that the dates for the exercise would be announced shortly.
The statement said: "Forty million ballot papers are being printed and readied for distribution to every clan and village in Biafraland for all adults over the age of 18 to express their preference.
"Through this age-old democratic process, IPOB shall return power to the long-suffering down-trodden masses to enable them determine their destiny. This massive consultation exercise will guide all future IPOB activities and hopefully address the issue of lack of wider participation by the people, which some Nigerian government agents within have often cited as their reason for working against the emergence of Biafra.
"For those that set out to mislead the populace by equating IPOB call for referendum as a call for war, in order to mask their betrayal of the people, will no doubt find another reason or excuse to object to this upcoming plebiscite."
In another development, Abia State High Court sitting in Umuahia, the state capital, has granted bail to the remaining two of the detained nine Jewish religion worshippers arrested by the state Police Command on May 13, 2018 around the country home of the leader of IPOB, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, in Afara Ukwa, Umuahia North Local Council of the state.
The two accused persons were Uche Ikechukwu and Linus Njoku Ede whose applications for bail along with the earlier seven granted bail on June 11, were filed on May 15, 2018 by their counsel, Mr. Aloy Ejimakor.
Ejimakor had told the court that though the purported reason for arrest and detention are bailable, it was still the discretion of the court to grant them the bail.
The trial judge, C.C.T. Adiele, who described the purported reason for their arrest and detention as a clear case of misdirection of prosecution, said in the absence of charges against the accused persons and the fact that their bail application was not opposed by the prosecution through the state counsel, Mr. Ernest Ibelegbu, he too would not oppose their bail application.
He, therefore, granted them bail in the sum of N20,000 each on additional terms that each must produce a surety in like sum who must be resident within the court jurisdiction and produce/submit three passport photographs each.
"This is a clear abuse of the criminal justice system geared to exacting illegal incarcerations of non-convicted persons hence it should be discontinued forthwith," the judge held.