© 2019 - International Centre for Investigative Reporting
Nnamdi Kanu on the run as arrested IPOB members face arson charge
Following the designation of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) as a terrorist organisation by the defence headquarters on Friday, and the subsequent proscription of the group by the South East Governors’ forum, events have taken a dramatic turn for the Nnamdi Kanu-led secessionist group.
Kanu and some of his top members are currently nowhere to be found as security personnel make frantic efforts to take him into custody.
Some members of the IPOB who spoke to journalists on condition of anonymity said Kanu and the other leaders of the group were advised to go underground for the time being since “soldiers bent on killing him”.
“We have to apply wisdom to whatever we are doing,” the sources said. “We have realised that there is a grand conspiracy against Kanu and other top leaders of our group.
“Just imagine barely few hours after the Nigerian military declared members of IPOB and other pro-Biafran groups as terrorists, our own governors came up with their own outright ban of our activities.
“This definitely will give the soldiers and other security agencies the opportunity to arrest our leader and mount a deadly clampdown on all IPOB members. So, it is better to operate from a hideout for now.”
Kanu’s younger brother, simply identified as “Fine Boy”, said he would not reveal his brother’s whereabouts, adding that the IPOB has petitioned the United Nations and the European Union over the recent attack by Nigerian soldiers on their house.
“Only my brother can tell Nigerians where he is, I can’t,” Fine Boy said.
“I don’t know why the Army should call IPOB a terrorist organisation,” he complained.
“It is out of their desperation to arrest Nnamdi and frustrate the Biafran struggle. We have petitioned the United Nations and the European Union.
“The world knows that IPOB is a non-violent organisation; we don’t carry arms, we don’t kill, and we believe violence can never solve any problem.
“Nnamdi will soon disclose his current location and IPOB will also react to the proscription of the group by the South-East governors’ forum.”
Meanwhile, Anthony Ogbizi, the Abia State Police Commissioner, has said that recently-arrested members of the IPOB would be charged with murder and arson.
Parading the seven arrested suspects at the Ariaria police station, he added that anybody who is found in possession of any Biafran material would be arrested and prosecuted under the terrorism act.
He narrated how IPOB members attacked the Ariaria police station on September 10 and 14 respectively, burning down the station and injuring some of the policemen on duty.
Ogbizi said the attackers gained entrance into the station using petrol bombs and took three pump action rifles.
“Even some policemen were seriously injured. In fact as I am talking to you, one of the injured police officer is dead. Doctors tried in vain to save his life,” he said.
“Now we have lost a soul and you know what it takes to train a police officer. You know the vacuum that creates. It takes a minimum of one year to train a police officer.”
Similarly, Willie Obiano, Governor of Anambra State, has said that there will be no mercy for anybody arrested in connection to the Biafran agitation.
According to a statement issued by Tony Nnacheta, the State’s Commissioner for Information, Obiano said he aligned completely with the decision of the South East Governors that IPOB is an unlawful organisation, and that he would continue to do his best in ensuring that lives and property of the people of the state are protected.