The Police on Wednesday arrested 67 members of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) in Imo State on their way to meet a native doctor.
Among them were four women.
The Commissioner of Police, Isaac Akinmoyede, said the suspects were going to fortify themselves against bullet penetration.
He said they were arrested in Orji, Owerri North Local Government Area (LGA) on August 9.
Akinmoyede, in a police bulletin, said the suspects were on their way to consult a native doctor, Cyprian Amadi, of Abashieke Egbema in Ohaji/Egbema LGA.
The police chief said the suspects may have been planning an attack on security agencies.
He said: “It is believed that the group is planning an attack on security agencies to snatch weapons.”
According to Akinmoyede, the native doctor had removed bullets from one of the suspects who had gunshot injuries in the past.
He said: “It is also noteworthy that the group attacked and snatched two rifles from policemen during a violent protest in 2018, which were later recovered from a kidnap gang in a robbery operation.”
Operatives of the 34 Field Artillery Brigade intercepted the IPOB members at about 09.30 am at Mmahu Egbema checkpoint.
The operatives, Akinmoyede said, called for reinforcement from the Divisional Police Headquarters, Egbema, who swiftly mobilised to the scene.
The CP said: “This organisation has been proscribed by the Federal Government of Nigeria.
“As such, any such gathering by the group is viewed as unlawful. They will be charged to court as soon as investigation is concluded.”
The suspects are the 68-year-old native doctor Cyprian Amadi, Wilfred Bassey (21), Fidelis Okedi (31), Obinna Iloka (29), Anyachukwu Okere (47), Emmanuel Obidiaku (32), Obiagwu Tochukwu (38), Onyedikachi Njoku (38), Gerald Amaeshi (28), Ebuka Osuji (20) and Otumbadi John (25).
The others are Amadi Ugochukwu (19), Uche Thadeus (37), Ugochukwu Ohaowe (32), Francis Uwakwe (24), Ikechukwu Uba (37), Ifeanyi Chimezie (20), Ibeajah Alexander (35), Chibuike Nkurum (38), Uche Samuel (30), Nnachi Augustine (30), Chinedu Akuekwe (33), Madu Samuel (35) and Ifeanyi Ahanonu (22).
Also arrested were Nze Emmanuel (20), Njoku Kosidi (34), Ibe Joshua (20), Nneka Oparaku (34), Ikechukwu Okwu (38), Ikeada Kelechi (45), Okoro Ude (25), Izuchukwu Uzoma (28), Chibuzo Unakalamba (29), Wisdom Mbudu (18), Izuchi Osuji Solomon (18), Mathew Nwachukwu (25), Nnamdi Okara (28), Chukwuma Udechukwu (26) and Donatus Uchenna (25).
The others are Chisogonus Eke (24), Sopuruchi Alanwoke (33), Chekube Asoluka (28), Lienam Olachi (45), Onwuduruba Happiness, Chinedu Unakalamba (34), Chikezie Ihejieto (43), Francisca Nkwocha (50), Peter Metu (24), Raphael Oriaku (33), Ogechi Opara (21), Samson Okoh (30), Okwudili Fidelis (28) and Nnamdi Nwanna (25).
The rest are Prince Chimezie Njoku Nwasi (35), Obinna Ajaegbu (38), Ogechi Okwu (40), Joseph Nwaolisa (29), Onuegbu Emmanuel (18), Akachi Chilekpe (27), Francis Umezuruike (20), Uchenna Nwankwo (34), Chigozie Nkwocha (34), Kelvin Okonkwo (34), Ibeto Emmanuel (47), Chinazom Anyanwu (32), Monday Esowune (32) and Ogbonna Kenneth (32).
IPOB Media and Publicity Secretary Emma Powerful asked the government and to security agencies to let IPOB members be.
He said they mean no harm.
Powerful added: “We are warning the Nigeria government and her security agencies to let IPOB be because we are peaceful in all our activities since the formation of this noble movement to liberate our people.
“Nigerian security operatives are deriving joy in arresting and slaughtering IPOB family members since 2015 while their brothers, herdsmen and their Boko Haram counterpart, are busy causing mayhem throughout Nigeria without security officers struggling to stop them.
“We are calling on Governor Hope Uzodimma of Imo State to instruct his country’s security to release our members before it is late.”