By Our Reporter
One of the members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) whose whereabouts were unknown in the aftermath of the September 2017 “Operation Python Dance” exercise by the Nigerian Military in the South-East region of the country, Mr. Uchenna Ani, has spoken from Germany.
Ani, 29, had been feared dead by his family after he failed to return to their home in Aba, Abia State, months after the bloody clash between IPOB and the military in 2017 in the commercial city of Aba.
Ani, who called his brother, Emmanuel Ani, from Germany, said that he is alive and narrated his close shave with death during the military invasion of Aba.
He said that in spite of the military offensive against IPOB members in the South East, he is still ready to return home.
Emmanuel told The AUTHORITY that the family was happy and relieved when it received a called from Uchenna that he was speaking from Germany.
According to him, Uchenna had been feared dead since there was no sign of him anywhere and no one, including his friends, could give any information about him after the “Operation Python Dance” exercise in Aba and Umuahia.
“It was like a dream the day he called. Initially, the voice I heard was unmistakably his, but I was cautious not to fall into a possible prank by mischief makers. But his narrations convinced me that he was the one. It was unbelievable that Uchenna is alive,” he said.
Emmanuel further disclosed that the family has been mourning the dead of their father, whose health condition degenerated following heightened fears that Uchenna may have been one of the victims of the IPOB clash.
“Our father had some health challenges. He was hypertensive and diabetic. But then, the incessant visit of some strange persons suspected to be security agents to our home in Ndiuni Enuguagu Ozalla in Nkanu West Local Government Area of Enugu State, caused the old man’s health to deteriorate leading to his death. We are leaving in fear because of the regular presence of the strange persons laying siege to the family and apparently believing Uchenna was hiding in the village.
“Our late father was uncomfortable with Uchenna’s membership of the IPOB. And he did everything to discourage him from it but he would not hear anything against IPOB. We are happy that he is not dead after all,” he said.
He, however, expressed deep worries at Uchenna’s plan to return to Aba, in spite of the fact that he is most probably on the list of wanted IPOB members.
“Uchenna is eager to return to the country. He is thinking of coming back anytime soon. He knows what is happening in the country with IPOB since it was declared a terrorist group the Federal Government. He gets information from his friends here, but I suspect those friends are the once encouraging him to come.
“My family is suspecting one of his close friends as an informant to the security agents. We have our reasons for suspecting him for the ugly experiences of the family in the hands of the security agents. He feeds him with stories that make him wants to return to the country.
“I have told him to beware of what he discusses with the guy, known as Chidi. Any reasonable person would know that any identified member of the IPOB risks arrest and possible prosecution by the Federal Government. Our mother has been so traumatized with all this, including the death of our father. The family has suffered so much pain because Uchenna’s involvement with IPOB. We wish he stays back there for the safety of his live and that of the family.” He concluded.
The whereabouts of the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB,) Nnamdi Kanu has been unknown since some soldiers invaded the palace of his father in Afar-Ukwu, Umuahia during a military operation tagged Operation Python Dance. While several members of the group has neither been seen or heard from since the military exercise in the South-east part of the country.
IPOB had declared 40 of its members missing after an alleged clash with the police and Army personnel in Anambra State on Thursday, April 5, 2018 while returning from the burial of a member, Odika Esieme Chukwuma at Igbo-Ukwu in Anambra State. The deceased was allegedly killed at Umuahia, Abia State during “Operation Python Dance” last year.
The group alleged that some of the members were injured and others arrested and taken to undisclosed cells while others were still missing and their whereabouts unknown after they were attacked by security operatives along Nnewi Ichii Road in Nnewi North Local Government Area of the state.
It will be recalled that the Federal Government had declared IPOB a terrorist group.
The Federal High Court in Abuja had given a judicial backing to the executive order of President Muhammadu Buhari, outlawing IPOB and its activities.
The Acting Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice Abdu Kafarati, granted the order proscribing the group on Wednesday, September 20, 2017.
The court declared that the activities of IPOB in Nigeria, particularly in the South East or South-South regions, henceforth, constituted “an act of terrorism.”
The judge did not sit in the open court.
He heard and granted the ex-parte motion filed by the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami (SAN), in chambers.