- IPOB Leader, Kanu, Not in Our Custody, DHQ Insists
Following the growing concerns about the whereabouts of the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, the Defence Headquarters (DHQ) yesterday said the IPOB leader was not under its custody and could not be responsible for his disappearance.
Speaking to journalists in Abuja, the Director of Defence Information, Major General John Enenche explained that the military was not holding Kanu and that it was not the responsibility of DHQ to declare him wanted.
“Nobody raided Kanu’s home; not from the information I got, I was watching it live, I was monitoring it live and speaking with them (soldiers) on the ground.
“The people that came out from there (Kanu’s house) that I saw were the Biafra Security Service and Biafra National Guard. I think I later confirmed that there was nothing to actually justify the roadblocks mounted by IPOB. I saw the militancy, nobody told me and I saw the action there. We are still investigating.”
Enenche contended that it was premature to assume that the Abuja Federal High Court would hold the military accountable for the disappearance of Kanu, stressing that there was no need to jump the gun.
On the alleged proscription of IPOB by the military, Enenche said: “The military did not proscribe IPOB. Due process was followed. The job of the military is to diagnose security issues and warn the public of consequences and that is part of our media operations.
“We did our media operations very well, otherwise, that weekend would have been the longest weekend in this country and we were also very careful choosing our words; we know the law very well.
“People had mindset and they were in a hurry to attack the military because of their mindset. Because of that, it is a pity to say that some people lost their reputation.”
On Operation Python Dance 11 in the South-east, Enenche said: “It is to enlighten them, educate them and make them aware about what the military has been doing and will continue to do.
“For your information, I was in that area and I served there 12 years ago. We have been carrying out several exercises in the same way with different code names; nothing like this came up. So, when they reflect on such things, it will encourage them.
“There were activities we carried out like medical outreaches; reaching out to the needs of people. The operation is not negative.”
Asked if the military would also launch another operation to tackle herdsmen and farmers clashes, which has led to brutal killings in many parts of the country, Enenche said there was no need for any special operation on the crisis, “given that the crisis is being handled by an ongoing operation.”
He maintained that the herdsmen and farmers conflict had already been tackled under “Operation Mesa.”
Enenche cautioned that there was the need to categorise “identified” herdsmen on one hand and “unidentified” herdsmen on another hand, and “let us not put to all of them together”.
The Director also assured Nigerians that no group would carry out the threat asking some tribes to leave their region, as the military has put everything in place to checkmate such incidents.
He assured Nigerians across the country that though, the threat had been withdrawn, there was no cause for alarm regarding October 1st declarations by tribal groups in the North and South.
Kanu is expected in court on 17th October, 2017 over alleged treason offences against the federal government.
The IPOB leader’s lawyer, Ifeanyi Ejiofor has filed a suit at the Federal High Court, Abuja against the Nigerian Army and the federal government, asking them to produce him, “taking cognizance of the fact that his disappearance was as a result of the invasion of his residence in Umuahia, Abia State.”
Ohanaeze must champion Igbo interest, not IPOB, Ngwaukwu people insist
In a related development, the people of Ngwaukwu Ancestral Kingdom in Isiala Ngwa South Local Government Area of Abia State have said that the separatist group should not be allowed to fight for Igbo interest.
They accused IPOB of usurping the powers of Ohanaeze Ndihbo, “which is the body authorised and in a better position to fight for the interest of Ndigbo within the Nigerian state.”
Ngwaukwu people made their position known in a statement issued after a meeting held at the palace of Ezeukwu of Ngwaukwu, HRM Eze Bernard Enweremadu, during which they deliberated on ‘the matters of IPOB and security challenges in Abia state.
The traditional Prime Minister, Nze Joe Nwogu, who read the statement he signed with the palace secretary, Samuel Azumara, expressed strong fears that the activities of IPOB could spark another civil war.
They said that their nasty experiences in the civil war of 1967-70 “are too fresh to be forgotten” hence they would “not be part of any move or activities that will make another outbreak of war inevitable”.
To forestall the possibility of another war, Ngwaukwu people said that IPOB should stop pretending to be championing the interest of Ndigbo when a formidable apex organization the Ohanaeze Ndigbo is in a better position to lead the fight for equity and justice.
“The quest/agitation for Igbo interests, especially in the area of justice, equity and manifest sense of belonging is acceptable as that is within the ambit of the laws of Nigeria,” Nwogu said.
Arguing that Ohanaeze Ndigbo should take the driving seat of championing the Igbo cause, the Traditional Prime Minister said that it was the position of Ngwaukwu that Ohanaeze remained the best suited body to fight for Igbo interest.
“IPOB should not be allowed to be bastardising or contradicting the existence and efforts of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, which is a better organised, experienced and intelligent body/platform to ventilate Igbo issues, interests and agitations,” he said.
Aside from rejecting IPOB, the people of Ngwaukwu also weaved a conspiracy theory around its activities, saying that the group posed serious threat to the governorship seat of Dr Okezie Ikpeazu, the first person from Ukwa/Ngwa section of Abia to become the state governor.
In his remarks corroborating the position of his people the Ezeukwu of Ngwaukwu, Eze Bernard Enweremadu took the argument further by stating that the old Aba zone was entitled to 16 years in government house since the old Bende zone had taken 16 years.