News

September 18, 2017

IPOB: Only FG has right to declare Kanu wanted – Buratai

Positive Identification: Middle-Belt group lauds Buhari, Nigerian Army over operation to sanitize region

…says army not under any pressure to withdraw from South-East

By Anthony Ogbonna

The Chief of Army staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai has said that it is only the federal government of Nigeria that has the constitutional right to declare, if deemed fit, the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, wanted. He also refuted claims that the Nigerian army under any pressure to withdraw troops from South-East.

He said the military exercise code-named Operation Egwu Eke II or Operation Python Dance II currently ongoing in the region will continue to its logical conclusion.

Buratai

Buratai gave the statement on Monday, after the opening of the third quarter Nigerian army conference in Abuja.

Since the launch of the military operation, many have called for its termination especially after some military personnel clashed with members of the secessionist group, the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, in Abia state.

The clash led to alleged death of many IPOB members while the army said its personnel sustained injuries.

Since the incidents, days after, the whereabouts of the leader of IPOB, Nnamdi Kanu is not known.

IPOB had accused the Nigerian army of invading Kanu’s home and shooting so many of its members at Kanu’s father’s palace in Umuahia. They said the army had raided the home, shooting and carrying many of its members to unknown destinations.  Ever since then, Kanu has not been heard from.

However, the Nigerian army had equally denied invading Kanu’s home nor killing anybody.

But, due to the clash, the Nigerian army categorised IPOB as a terrorist organization for using broken bottles and sticks on the soldiers.

Also, the governors of the south eastern states equally proscribed the activities of IPOB in the region following army’s categorization of the group as a terrorist organization.

Meanwhile, many, including the President of the Nigerian Senate, Dr. Bukola Saraki and the wife of the late Biafran warlord, Bianca Ojukwu have condemned army’s terming of IPOB as a terrorist organization, describing such categorization as unconstitutional and unjustifiable, respectively.

Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu had also said that he was in talks with the federal government to see to the withdrawal of the troops in the south-east region, saying their presence could further heighten the already tensed situation in the region.

However, the Chief of Army Staff, Buratai refuted insinuations that the army is under pressure to withdraw troops from the region.

He insisted that the military operation ongoing in the region is within the jurisdiction of the constitution.

“Nigerian Army is part of the political consideration in the democratic system. It is part of the democratic process. It is a product of the democratic governance. So, we are not under any pressure.

“We are doing what the constitution has provided. So we are not under any pressure whatsoever.”