The trio: Progress Onwudinjo ‘m’ 37 years from Etche LGA, Rivers State, Apuru Victor ‘m’ 23 years from Ebonyi State and John Okorie ‘m’ 38 years from Abia State.

Okafor Ofiebor/Port Harcourt

The Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) has denied the claims that three suspects arrested for allegedly  bombing the Universal Christian Church belonging to Governor Nyesom Wike’s father last Saturday night in Port Harcourt were  its members.

IPOB says the claim by the Rivers State Police Command during the parade of three suspected attackers that the suspects were members of the outlawed group was not true in a statement by its spokesman, Emma Powerful.

IPOB alleged that government was using the suspects to cover its evil deeds.

The statement by IPOB reads partly: “The attention of the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB), has been drawn to the frivolous and fabricated claims by the purported suspects of the alleged attack on Gov. Nyesom Wike’s father’s church who purportedly claimed responsibility for the said attack.

“We have equally heard with utter amazement that the alleged suspects further claimed they were contacted by IPOB to carry out the attack so as to gain recognition.

“This again is too petty and a lame script by the security agencies and their sponsors. The question is: Which recognition is IPOB a global movement that already maintains a presence in over 100 countries still looking for?

“It’s not in doubt what the government and security agencies can do either to cover evidence or establish cause to justify a premeditated evil. The speed with which the government and police pointed accusing fingers at IPOB even before the commencement of their so-called investigation, raises more suspicion. It’s only a confirmation that the ridiculous alleged confession of the said suspects was only premeditated just to possibly indict IPOB.

“IPOB is not a violent but peaceful movement. Bombing a place of worship how much more a church is never part of our signature tune. Most IPOB members have a Christian background and couldn’t have targeted any church for bombing.

“We have no quarrel with Wike’s father let alone innocent worshippers. Assuming, but not admitting that we are behind the purported attack, we wouldn’t have done a poor job.”

However, in an interview with journalists, the three suspects confirmed membership of IPOB with one of them, Victor Apuru, saying he was programmed to bomb the Elder Wike’s Church because of the promise made to him to be offered juicy position in IPOB.

Apuru  said: “I was promised a very juicy position in IPOB if I carried out the bombing of Church belonging to Governor Wike’s father.”

In a statement by SP Nnamdi Omoni, its spokesperson, the Rivers State Police Command had on Thursday said the three suspects were arrested in connection with the attack on the Church where substances suspected to be bomb were detonated.

The Police said the attack led to substantial damage to the church located at Azikiwe Street in Diobu, Port Harcourt.

Commissioner of Police, CP Joseph G. Mukan also told journalists that the suspects confessed of their complicity in the bombing.