…Whereabouts of mother, father still unknown
BY ANAYO OKOLI
UMUAHIA—THE whereabouts of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, are still shrouded in controversy as it is not certain that he was actually in Israel last week. Israel has said he was not in their country.
When his picture trended last week in the social media that he was in Israel, there was jubilation among members of IPOB who geared up to commence once again their agitation for their own country. But the jubilation was short lived when Israeli Government said that they could not confirm that Kanu was in their country and suggested that the trending picture was an old one.
Kanu himself later made a statement through Biafra Radio and boasted that he would return to Nigeria in no long time and that he would bring with him hell for Nigerian Government. In the statement, Kanu was quoted as saying “I owe my survival to the State of Israel”.
As the controversy over his whereabouts lingers, nothing has changed in his country home in Afara Ukwu. The father’s palace which was attacked on September 14, 2017 by security operatives who were hunting for Kanu is still desolate, abandoned and no activities are going on in the once boisterous palace.
The petty businesses that boomed around house and along the street leading to his house have all disappeared. The community has remained quiet since then compared to the high wire activities, including daily visits by various groups, almost on daily basis when Kanu was around.
Since then no traces of Kanu and those of his father, the monarch of the community, Eze Israel Kanu and his wife Sally are known.
Worried by the situation, some members of the community recently went on a visit to Governor Okezie Ikpeazu to solicit his assistance to locate the whereabouts of the monarch. In his response, Ikpeazu promised to liaise with other Governors in the zone to ensure that the monarch returned to his home before January 2019.
Incidentally, the visit has pitched the delegation and Governor Ikpeazu on one side and with the family of the IPOB leader on the other. The family swiftly disowned the people and accused Governor Ikpeazu of playing politics with the family.
The family, through the younger brother of the IPOB leader, Emmanuel, had alleged that the people who made the visit did so for pecuniary reasons and warned them to steer clear from the family. They accused the governor of trying to woo the aggrieved members of the community ahead of 2019 elections.
Nnamdi Kanu himself had also, in the statement he made through Radio Biafra, accused Ikpeazu of directing “the assault on my father who is a monarch”.
Speaking on behalf of the family, Prince Emmanuel had admonished Governor Okezie Ikpeazu and cautioned him not to play politics with the whereabouts of the monarch and his wife, Lolo Sally and urged him “to look for better ways of entertaining his guests and not to use Kanu’s family as a campaign slogan for his re-election bid”.
He questioned the logic behind the Governor promising to collaborate with his South East counterparts to help locate the missing monarch only now that elections are around the corner.
Also, the Traditional Prime Minister of the community, Chief Odoemelam Chimechefulam, has dissociated himself from the visit by some members of the community to Governor Ikpeazu.
“When I heard some people were mobilising to visit the Governor I said I won’t be part of it. Why will I go to wine and dine with him when I have not seen my traditional ruler more than one year the community
was invaded by the Army. Our community is within the Government House but the Governor has never visited us over our woes.
“We have been in pains since the military invaded us last year.
All the houses near Eze Kanu’s palace now have leaky roofs because of army bullets that rained on them like water.
“Since then, neither the Governor nor the Federal Government has visited us to know how we are faring. We are victims of the military raid.
“So, what is the essence of the visit? Those who went to see him went there on their own. Don’t forget that this is a political season and individuals have the right to express themselves”, Chimechefulam said.
But the two autonomous communities that make up Afaraukwu Kingdom, Okwulaga Autonomous Community and Enyiukwu Autonomous community and their traditional rulers have also distanced themselves from the visit and urged the South East governors to prevail on the Federal Government to produce the paramount ruler.
Former governor of Abia State, Orji Uzor Kalu once said that the IPOB leader was in the United Kingdom. IPOB attacked him for saying so and challenged him to prove his claim.