Soldiers’ Evasion of Kanu’s Home Leaves Scores Dead, Whereabouts of IPOB Leader Unknown

No fewer than four persons were feared killed when troops from the Nigerian Army broke into the Afara-Ukwu, Umuahia country home of the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, Nnamdi Kanu, Thursday evening.
However, there were conflicting figure of the number of dead.
This is even the whereabouts of the IPOB leader is immediately not known but a reliable source from the family confirmed that he was safe,
This as the presidency tasked former Education Minister and convener of Bring back our Girls, Mrs Oby Ekwezesili to eschew sentiments when discussing national security.
At about 5.30 shortly after Governor Okezie Ikpeazu ended his media briefing where he announced that he has reached an understanding with the army for gradual withdrawal of soldiers from the streets of Aba and Umuahia, sounds of sporadic gun shooting started coming out from the direction of Kanu’s home.
All the entrances leading to the house were barricaded with military vans with scores of soldiers stationed there, shooting in the air to scare away people. The shooing and operation in the house lasted for over 30 minutes.
According to a family source, “the Palace was desecrated and ransacked as the soldiers searched all nooks and crannies of the house”.
The source also claimed that cars in the house were vandalised and a family dog shot dead.
The father, HRH Eze Israel Kanu and his wife were said to be in the Palace while the operation lasted.
It was not however clear if any incriminating materials were found in the palace.
Calls put across to the Army Public Relations Officer of 14, Brigade, Major Oyegoke Gbadamosi were not picked but his boss, the Deputy Director, Army Public Relations, 82 Division, Col- Sagir Musa said he was not in Umuahia and promised to make inquiries from his men on ground and get back . But he has not got back as at the time of filing this report.
Meanwhile, the presidency Thursday night cautioned, Mrs. Ezekwesili, not to give ammunition to any violent group that seems determined to pursue its separatist agitation through reckless and destructive methods.
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu in a statement urged Dr. Ezekwesili to demonstrate a great sense of responsibility in the face of national security challenges posed by the IPOB incendiary propaganda designed to cause civil unrest in the country.
According to Shehu, “a prominent influencer like Dr. Oby has a moral and patriotic duty not to give ammunition to any violent group that seems determined to pursue its separatist agitation through reckless and destructive methods.
“While it is convenient for the civil society activist to condemn the military and the government of President Buhari, Mrs Ezekwesili didn’t find it appropriate, even once, to criticise the dangerous and violent propaganda being propagated by the IPOB leader, Nnamdi Kanu. Oby, as they call her, tweets on everything. Why was she silent on this one?” He said that the attacks on soldiers and policemen by IPOB supporters “was most irresponsible, indefensible and reckless” and that nobody in her position “should elevate mobs to the status of rock stars for the sake of playing to the gallery.”
The presidential media aide said while the military are taking all precautions to observe the rules of engagement, “there is a deliberate sinister agenda by IPOB to provoke the soldiers into killing innocent people in retaliation so that Nnamdi Kanu would use the pictures of the victims for international propaganda by the accusing the government of ethnic cleansing against the Igbos with the sole purpose of gaining sympathy.
“A president who has put put the nation’s cash cows, the Central Bank and the Ministry of Petroleum in the hands of the Igbo; who has given four out of five states in the subregion senior cabinet posts in his administration, including Foreign Affairs; and Industry, Trade and Investment, and is constructing the Second Niger bridge after years of deceit and false starts cannot be called a hater of the Igbo.”
The statement warned that the politicization of the ongoing military exercise in the subregion, itself in line with similar exercises in the five other geopolitical regions is inimical to the military readiness of the armed forces and the much-desired improved civilian-military relations in the country.
Malam Shehu wondered why Mrs. Ezekwesili “retreated to the background or lost her voice while IPOB supporters were violently molesting, harassing, attacking and jeopardizing the lives of indigenes and non-indigenes.”
He challenged Mrs. Ezekwesili to explain to Nigerians where the constitution of Nigeria, and international human rights law support the killing and molestation of innocent people in the name of advocacy for self determination.
According to him, “her hypocritical and timid silence while Kanu’s IPOB supporters were engaged in lawlessness and recklessness in violation of his bail conditions is a burden on her credibility as a national crusader who should be courageous to condemn criminality. This art of using a raincoat while taking a bath is nothing short of self deceit.”
He reminded her that “if the Buhari administration could take tough action against the extremist religious groups in the northern parts of the country to preserve national security, it is ridiculous to accuse the President of sending soldiers to the Southeast because he hates the Igbos.
“The Federal Government under President Muhammadu Buhari respects all citizens and will ensure that they are safe and secure wherever they reside.”
Shehu advised her to rise above pettiness and sentiments, and to resist the temptation to play to the gallery, when the country’s national security is under threat, adding that “seeking to make political capital out of a chaotic situation is highly unbecoming of her and of the reputation she has worked hard to build over the years.”

Author: News Editor

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