Jubilation in Afaraukwu; family, IPOB, Ohanaeze react
His reappearance has elicited concern by apex Igbo group Ohanaeze, which called on pro-Biafra agitators to shun any confrontation with the military
Vincent Kalu, Okey Sampson, Aba
The controversy surrounding the whereabouts of leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu has finally been laid to rest as he was reportedly sighted yesterday praying in a Jewish synagogue in Israel. This much has been confirmed by both his family and the leadership of IPOB.
His reappearance has however elicited concern by the apex Igbo group, Ohanaeze, which called on the pro-Biafra agitators to shun any confrontation with the military, which is organizing another operation python dance in the Southeast. Nnamdi Kanu’s breakaway group from the Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB), was formed in 2009 and since then, has remained the flagship of the Biafra struggle in the Southeast.Kanu who was based in London, UK, was arrested on October 14, 2015 in Lagos while in Nigeria to strategize on his dream project of actualizing the state of Biafra. He was detained for nearly two years without trial despite several court rulings, granting him bail.
However, in a surprise move, Justice Binta Nyako, handling Kanu’s case, on May 5, 2017, granted him bail on health grounds and adjourned the matter to November of the same year. Before the adjourned date, soldiers on September 21, 2017, invaded the palace of the traditional ruler of Afara Ukwu, HRM (Eze) Isaac Kanu which also doubles as the IPOB leader’s home.
Since after the invasion, Kanu and his parents had not been seen or their whereabouts known until yesterday when the IPOB leader was sighted praying in Israel.
Months before the invasion of his home, the leader of (IPOB) had told this newspaper in an exclusive interview that he feared for his life as the Nigerian Army was planning to kill him over his resolve not to abandon the agitation for the actualization of a state of Biafra.
Speaking on the latest development, the spokesman of the Kanu family, Prince Emmanuel Kanu, confirmed that his elder brother and leader of IPOB, Nnamdi actually prayed in Israel yesterday.
“Yes, I can confirm to you that my elder brother and leader of IPOB, Nnamdi Kanu prayed at a Jewish synagogue in Israel today, Friday and it is the first since he got missing over a year ago when the military invaded our home.”
He said despite the fact that his parents were yet to be seen, the family members are happy that their son, Nnamdi is alive. He refused to make further comments saying the family would issue a statement later.
Reacting to the reappearance of Nnamdi Kanu in Israel, the National Publicity Secretary of Ohanaeze, Uche Achi-Okpaga, said it is something to give glory to God, and called on IPOB members not to engage in any activity that will give room for soldiers to kill them.
He said: “If he is alive, and enjoying his freedom, we give God the glory and pray that the Lord will continue to sustain him in spite of the shenanigans of the Federal Government. I will continue to appeal to our Igbo youths to remain steadfast and peaceful. What it shows is that, their leader, Nnamdi Kanu going to pray is a peaceful man. In spite of what happened, he just left and connected to his God. He was seen praying, which means that he has realised that the battle is not carnal, but spiritual.
“I implore his members to emulate him and follow his footsteps. Let them remain calm, while they pray unto their God, who eventually will do something at the appropriate time. The Bible we read says there is time for everything. If they believe, the Lord will actually make it for them in His own way. I don’t want them to take to violent act, of course, they have never been violent; I don’t want them to take measures that the python dancers will see reasons to pounce on them; they should not take measures that will warrant the python dancers to come and dance on them.
“What they do is to leave Boko Haram ravaged North East and areas where herdsmen are sacking communities in North Central states and come to the Southeast that is the peaceful zone to kill unarmed youths. We warn again, our youths should not do something that will make the python soldiers to come and start dancing.”
President General of Afaraukwu, Nnamdi Kanu’s community, Ikechukwu Nwabueze said they are happy their son has been sighted praying, an indication that he is still alive. “You know, you cannot leave your goods in the market simply because you did not sell them. Whatever they say he has done, he is still our son and we cannot abandon him”.
He urged the federal government to drop the charge against Kanu and allow him to return to Nigeria a free man since he did not do anything against his fatherland. Also confirming that their leader prayed in Israel yesterday, IPOB in a terse statement by its media and publicity secretary, Emma Powerful said, “Fellow Biafrans, friends of Biafra, enemies of Biafra, men and women of goodwill and of good conscience across the world, we wish to reliably inform you that the supreme leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu prayed today (yesterday) at the Wailing Wall in the Holy City of David in Jerusalem.
“Biafrans, be resolute this is the beginning of struggle for Biafra independence. We thank Almighty God (Chukwu Okike Abiama) for hisprotection and safety.”
Meanwhile, the people of Afaraukwu community who are in joyous mood over the reported sighting of their son in Israel, have urged Abia state government to expedite action on the return of Kanu’s father.
According to Nwabueze, “The governor made the promise that our monarch will be back, the question then is, when will he be back?
“If there is anywhere they put him, he should let us know and thank God that he has accepted he will come back, that is to say that he knows where he is. So, since the governor has accepted that he knows where he is and that he will soon come back, then he should bring them back. With what the governor said, it is now very clear that our traditional ruler is in their custody and they should expedite action to bring him back.”