|Kanu's Residence At Aafraukwu|
The recent altercation between the Nigerian military and members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) led by Nnamdi Kanu was not the first, but certainly the most daring and brutal.
Prior to this there has been clashes between IPOB members and security agents in practically all parts of the South East, Rivers and Delta State.
But none has attracted so much attention compared to the incident of the last few weeks.
We don’t want to go into history of the formation of IPOB and how Nnamdi Kanu was arrested, incarcerated and released on bail. (That is well known to all)
Although the bail conditions were so stringent, he was able to meet it due to the support of some notable South leaders like Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe,T A Orji,Ike Ekweremadu and the rest.
On release, Nnamdi Kanu was asked to adhere strictly to his bail conditions. Uppermost was the restriction on granting any Press Interview as well as not to be seen in the company of not more than seven people at a time.
How well Nnamdi Kanu adhered to these conditions is also well known to all Nigerians, we will not want to go into that in this report too
The current problem for Kanu started when he insisted on a Referendum to determine the continued coexistence of the people of the South East in the current enclave called Nigeria.
The advocacy reverberated across Igbo land, and practically Igboman queued behind him on this.
Many Igbos at home and abroad embraced it with open arms. Mobilization was on. It spread like wild fire. It was so obvious to all and sundry that this probably was the greatest opportunity for Igbos to get their “anticipated freedom”.
No one has been able to push and pull such unanimous voice across Igboland since the end of the civil war spearheaded by Late Gen Odumegwu Chukwuemeka Ojukwu.
Nnandi Kanu became the new bride in town, the voice of the voiceless and a clear symbol of the Biafran course.
Even elders were not left out, the educated, semi-literate and illiterates chorused with one voice (but it should also be noted that there were still some Igbos who never believed in this agenda, especially among the elites) but it was obvious that they were in the minority.
Nnamdi Kanu’s words became law among his teeming supporters, his words were music to their ears. It was Referendum or nothing else.
While the Nigerian government were still grappling with what they would do, Nnamdi Kanu went a bit further to set up a security arm that he named BSS (Biafra Security Service).
This was probably the turning point. While some people who hitherto were in his support tried to call him to order, asking him not to take his eyes off the ball.
As if that was not enough, Nnamdi Kanu went on to announce that there will be no Governorship election in Anambra State come 10th November 2017.
This particular act pitched him against many Igbos especially from Anambra State who vehemently condemned his utterances. Notable Igbo sons and daughters like the Ohaneze Ndi Igbo and Obi Of Onitsha denounced his statement, vowing that the Anambra election would hold.
His continued utterances and agitation led to some Northern Youths to give Igbos living in the North an October 1st 2017 order to leave the North. Tension were heightened across the length and breadth of Nigeria
Emissaries were sent to Nnamdi Kanu to calm down but he remained adamant. The Federal Government at this point were miffed.
|CKN News Editor In Chief At Ojukwu Bunker|
To stem the tide, the South East Governors in conjunction with some notable Igbo elders invited Nnamdi Kanu to a meeting in Enugu (which he attended). Governors Okezie Ikpeazu, Dave Umeanyi, Willie Obiano and Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi were in attendance. Imo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha was represented at the meeting by his Deputy. Others in attendance were Prof Ben Nwabueze,Pan Igbo group Ohaneze Ndi Igbo and other prominent leaders of thoughts from the South east.
At the end of the meeting, it was agreed that Nnamdi Kanu should shield his sword while avenues for more consultations should be explored.
Nnamdi Kanu went back to Afaraukwu but it could not be ascertained if he kept to the agreement reached with the Governors and elders.
THE MILITARY /IPOB CLASH
No one could for sure give an exact explanation to the incident that prompted the IPOB military clash in Umuahia. There were various versions of what happened.
But one thing was clear. The Military had earlier announced that Operation Python Dance 11 will commence in the South East in the later part of September 2017.It will cover the entire five States of the South East.
Few days before the commencement, a Military team on routine patrol in Umuahia, close to Nnamdi Kanu’s residence were pelted with stones and bottles by his supporters.
The team retreated and resurfaced 24 hours later. IPOB members were alerted of the Army presence and they mobilized from several parts of the South East and Rivers State heading toward Umuahia.Some of them were intercepted by soldiers and thoroughly beaten up.
Some were made to lie in water filled muds and made to drink dirty water (Some residents confirmed that). No one could ascertain if anyone one of them died in the process.
Nnamdi Kanu’s house was later “invaded “by the soldiers but he was nowhere to be found.. His whereabouts and that of his parents were still unknown as at the time CKN News Visited Umuahia.
There were clashes in Aba too leading to the burning of the Ariaria Market Police Station by suspected IPOB members which led to the death of one ASP and the declaration of a dawn to dusk curfew by the State Governor
CKN NEWS FINDINGS IN UMUAHIA AND ABA.
CKN News arrived Umuahia, Abia State capital on Monday 19th September 2017.Contrary to our expectation, the State Capital was relatively calm on arrival.
Moving round the State capital next day, CKN News realized that all the Soldiers deployed inside Umuahia have withdrawn (lending credence to earlier statement of the State Governor). Soldiers have returned to their earlier checkpoints at (Umuahia Tower) and Umuopara. They were also noticed at their checkpoint on Aba road on the outskirt of Umuahia as well as Umuahia Okigwe Expressway as well as at Uturu.
On casualty figures, CKN news investigation from some of those we spoke to us confirmed that two IPOB members were shot dead at a Bank on Bank road in Umuahia close to government house.
Some of those who spoke to us on condition of anonymity confirmed that they were shot by military men.
According to them, the two who were at an ATM booth of one of the Banks (Name withheld) to withdraw money wearing the BSS T shirt and fez Cap (which showed that they were members of IPOB ) security outfit. The soldiers who were on patrol at that time noticed them and without any warning shot them at pointblank and took away their bodies.
VISIT TO NNAMDI KANU’S TOWN IN AFARAUKWU
A visit to Nnamdi Kanu’s village of Afaraukwu, Umuahia confirmed that life is gradually returning to the community.
A resident who spoke to CKN News said he had to flee the community just like many others when the place was getting “too hot” for them.
Afaraukwu is less than five minutes’ drive from Government House ,Umuahia.It is also few meters from Emeka Omeruo Government Guest House Umuahia.
A visit to the town showed a town in total desolation, people were seen speaking in low tunes. Most of them were reluctant to speak to strangers out of fear. Commercial activities were at low key.
All around Afaraukwu IPOB presence was noticed on some of the landmarks.Starting from the entrance into his father’s street (who happens to be the the traditional ruler of the town) .
All electric poles had the Biafran flag colour painted around them..Some of the buildings were also painted in the same Biafran colour.
Kanu’s father house at Eze Kanu street was deserted during our visit. Some bullet holes were noticed on the walls.
The street was well secured by stern looking detachment of fully armed policemen. No Soldier was insight.
In front of the house was a collapsed green roof tent that had two SUV vehicles parked under it.The tents rested on the vehicles with shattered windshields
No one was ready to tell us the whereabouts of Nnamdi Kanu,his Parents and occupants of the building .The Policemen did not allow any vehicle into the street.
Further down, just about two minutes from Nnamdi Kanu’s house was another detachment of Police with an Armoured vehicle stationed at the entrance of what is known as the “Ojukwu Bunker”.
The wide expanse of land (compound) houses the 26 feet underground administrative headquarters of the defunct Republic of Biafra.
The compound comprises the underground meeting room, office of the Ex Biafran Head of State, Kitchen, Toilet, Store room as well as the escape route of the former Biafran leader .(Videos have been uploaded on our website www.cknnewstv.tv
A ten minutes’ walk from Nnamdi Kanu’s also lies an FM Radio station fully manned by well-armed policemen.
REACTION FROM KANU’S KINSMEN
Some of those spoken to by CKN News at Afarakwu village expressed their happiness that the Soldiers finally came to their rescue. To them ,Nnamdi Kanu’s return to the community has brought with it a lot of tension and apprehension among the inhabitants.
According to them, though Nnamdi Kanu remained a very nice, humble and peaceful gentleman who goes about his businesses without harassing anyone, but the activities of his supporters was nothing to write home about.
Their activities paralyzed the activities of the town, some of them became outlaws who took the laws into their hands. They hoist their flags everywhere and made so much noise.
The inhabitants and passersby around the vicinity were made to stand still (at attention) whenever the “Biafran Anthem “was being played. Vehicular movements also get disrupted because of their large numbers.
A staff of Ojukwu Museum “ Ojukwu Bunker” who spoke to CKN News on condition of anonymity said it was a huge relief to them when the soldiers eventually came and dislodged the IPOB members.
Asked what happened on the day the soldiers stormed Nnamdi Kanu’s house,he said they were all taken unaware. Everyone were going about their normal duties ,when the soldiers suddenly appear from nowhere and started shooting sporadically into the air. All IPOB members took to their heels, they scaled fences jumped into Golden Guinea Breweries, scaled the fence again and found themselves on Aba Road. Others ran into different direction, it was like a war situation, he said
Some of them were arrested and taken away by the soldiers while many sustained injuries.
No one for sure could tell categorically if they witnessed any one killed by the soldiers.
One of them who volunteered her name as Nkechi said they ran away from their shops when they heard the shooting.
According to her, I did not see anyone killed but I heard from some people that some died but I didn’t see any myself.
Another told CKN News that Nnamdi Kanu had left his residence before the arrival of the soldiers, it was believed that he got information of the impending “invasion”.
No one in the community could say if he left with his parents and siblings before their arrival.
Another person who spoke with CKN News in Afaraukwu said Namdi Kanu’s presence in the community brought a lot of security to the area. No form of stealing or robbery was recorded in the area.
Asked how they felt with the latest development and the proscription of IPOB by the Federal Government, Mr Kanu (not a relation of Kanu) said the government was wrong in proscribing IPOB.
According to him declaring IPOB a terrorist group and its proscription was a great injustice to the Igbos. Her him: IPOB, never carried any arm against the Nigerian Government, their agitation was genuine, they unlike the Fulani herdsmen and Boko haram are the real threat to Nigeria’s security and not IPOB”.
Another person who also spoke to us said, IPOB was a good concept but Nnamdi Kanu blew the opportunity. He was overwhelmed by the massive support the movement got that it became too big for him to handle, maybe due to his age.
There were certain decisions and utterances he made which he shouldn’t have made, probably that costs the ban”. The South East Governors gave him a window of opportunity which he could have utilized effectively but he blew it, he concluded.
On his own Part, Mr Chima Ekene said Nnamdi Kanu’s problem was that he centered the whole movement around himself, which shouldn’t be.
The movement was about him and him alone, once he was removed, the entire movement collapsed” he said.
Asked if he thinks IPOB was dead, he emphatically said No. IPOB may be silent for now according to him but the movement cannot die ,it has gone beyond Nnamdi Kanu he said.
|Entrance To Nnamdi Kanu Home In Afaraukwu|
Even Nnamdi Kanu dies today, another movement will come up tomorrow until the marginalization of the Igbo race is properly addressed by the Nigerian government. He asked the Buhari’s government to listen to the advice of some notable Nigerians like Chief Olusegun Obasanjo by calling Kanu to a roundtable discussion on the way forward.
For Chidi Amaechi, even if Nnamdi Kanu didn’t achieve anything, atleast he has brought to the front burner the discuss of restructuring into the main stream of Nigeria’s politics.
Everyone now agrees this is the time for restructuring, that to me is greater than any other thing ,he said .
CKN News also visited the Federal Medical Centre, Umuahia where some of those shot during the clash were being treated.
Anayo whom we met at one of the male ward said he came to Umuahia to see his wife when he was shot in the arm at Aba road .He is nursing a shattered bone .
Those initially admitted at the emergency ward of the hospital were already discharged as at the time of our arrival.
Report us reaching us from Aba also has it that the situation has been brought under control
Our attempt to speak the soldiers or their spokesmen were unsuccessful.
Also no Abia State government official was on ground to speak on the matter as they were preparing for the bury of the Chief of Staff to the Governor who died in Europe. He was buried on Saturday.
Most of those spoken to by CKN News commended the way and manner Abia State Governor Okezie Ikpeazu handled the whole situation, but for him, several innocent people and IPOB members would have lost their lives in the process.
While leaving Abia, we can authoritatively report that everything is almost back to normal but we don’t know if the peace being enjoyed now is that of the graveyard or if IPOB has finally been silenced by the Nigerian government.
Pictures: Residence Of Nnamdi Kanu, FMC Hospital Umuahia, ..CKN NEWS/CKN NEWS TV