The founder of the Indigenous People of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu, and top leaders of his group have gone into hiding following Friday’s declaration by the Nigerian Army that IPOB and other Pro-Biafran groups were terrorists organisations.
Investigations by Sunday Punch on Saturday revealed that Kanu and his top lieutenants had ‘disappeared’ from his country home in Afaraukwu near Umuahia and other places he frequently visited.
His father, Eze Israel Kanu, is the traditional ruler of the town.
Some IPOB members, who spoke on conditions of anonymity explained that Kanu and others were advised to go underground following the declaration by the army and the decision of the southeast Nigerian governors to proscribe activities of pro-Biafra agitators in the region.
An IPOB member said: “We have to apply wisdom to whatever we are doing. 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.”
I can’t disclose my brother’s location — Kanu’s brother
When contacted on phone on Saturday, Kanu’s younger brother simply identified as Fine Boy, refused to tell Sunday Punch where his brother was, adding that only the IPOB leader could disclose his hiding place.
He said: “Only my brother can tell Nigerians where he is, I can’t. I don’t know why the army should call IPOB a terrorist organisation, 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 southeast governors’ forum.”
Security agencies comb southeast for Kanu, others
Sunday Punch investigations on Saturday also showed that security agencies were combing the South-East region in search of Kanu.
Findings by one of our correspondents in Abuja showed that the security agencies had been directed to arrest Kanu and other leaders of his group.
The directive to arrest the IPOB leaders was said to have been communicated to the leaders of the security agencies deployed in the region.
The security agencies that were given the directive, according to investigation, include the military, the police and the Department of State Services.
It was gathered that the government felt that it could be dangerous to leave Kanu a free man till the next adjourned date when his case would come up at an Abuja Federal High Court.
His case is said to be coming up later in October.
A top security sources said: “We are seriously looking for him. He has a lot of things to explain to the government concerning his statements, actions and activities.
“We can’t sit by and allow the security situation in the country to be compromised to the extent that an individual will be challenging the Federal Government.
“Government has to do something about an individual that is recruiting young people, giving them uniforms, arming them and referring to them as a secret service.
“We have been seizing arms and ammunitions at the ports; we also need to know what they were meant for.
“This is someone who unilaterally said there would be no election in Anambra State and some people want us to allow him continue with his activities? No, we need to grow above our ethnic and tribal sentiments.”
© The Punch