* As family, Ohanaeze want army to steer clear
From Steve Oko, Umuahia
Contrary to insinuations in some quarters, the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra, IPOB “is not involved and has no role to play” in the burial of the late parents of IPOB Leader, Nnamdi Kanu, HRM Eze Israel Kanu, and Lolo Sally Kanu.
This explanation was made Tuesday in Umuahia by the President General of Isiama Afaraukwu Autonomous Community, Chief Ikechukwu Ndubueze in a tripartite press briefing with Kanu’s family and Ohanaeze Youths Council (OYC).
Eze Kanu, the traditional ruler of Isiama Afaraukwu autonomous community in Umuahia North Local Government Area, Abia State; and his wife died late last year, and have been slated for burial on February 14.
The explanation is coming on the heels of alleged deployment of soldiers around the community ahead of the burial.
According to the community source, heavily armed soldiers numbering about 100 with armourd tanks were observed Sunday afternoon, parading the community.
Ndubueze said the community which is still devastated and in mournful mood over the loss of their monarch and his wife only wants to accord them a peaceful burial in partnership with the family according to the tradition of the land .
He said the proposed burial had nothing to do with Biafra agitation, a cause currently championed by the first son of the monarch, Nnamdi.
The President General said the community leaders had been consulting with the various security agencies in the state, and had assured them that the burial “is peaceful “.
Ndubueze urged members of the public to disregard any rumour, social media report or information regarding the burial except the one emanating from the burial committee set up by the three communities in Afaraukwu ancient kingdom.
He regretted that the fourth columnist had taken advantage of the social media space to spread false remour about the burial, insisting that it has nothing to do with Biafra.
He therefore pleaded with the Federal Government to quickly withdraw the soldiers deployed in the community whose presence, he said was already causing unnecessary tension and panic.
” The Army should allow us bury our monarch and the wife peacefully. It’s their traditional right which we owe them “.
Speaking at the briefing, Kanu’s younger brother, Prince Emmanuel Kanu, said the family was still in pains over the circumstances surrounding the tragic death of their parents.
He said the family only wanted to conduct a peaceful burial for their parents and queried the rationale on which the Army authorities based the deployment of troops to their community.
He said the army and other security agencies should steer clear from the burial, arguing that their involvement is unwarranted.
Speaking also, the National President of Ohanaeze Youths Council, Comrade Igboayaka O Igboayaka, expressed sadness over the deployment of soldiers to the community ahead of the burial.
He said the action of the Army authorities was unnecessary , provocative and unacceptable.
Igboayaka said it was curious that the Nigerian Army would be sending 100 soldiers to Afaraukwu because Nnamdi Kanu wants to bury his parents where as more soldiers are needed in the fight against insurgents in the North East.
The OYC helmsmen accused the federal government of double standard in using extreme force against unarmed Biafra agitators while treating Boko Haram terrorists, killer herdsmen, bandits and cattle rustlers wrecking havoc in the North with kid gloves.
” We can’t accept that when Boko Haram is dancing on the blood of innocent Nigerias in the North.
” Buhari should take his troops to the North and Sambisa forest to face Boko Haram and cattle rustlers.
” There is no crisis or war in Abia or any part of South East to warrant deployment of soldiers. Sending troops to Afaraukwu amounts to stoking anarchy and if Buhari does not withdraw his soldiers it means that he does not love peace. ”
The OYC leader said President Muhammadu Buhari and his security chiefs had failed Nigerians considering the spate of killings by Islamic extremists.
He argued that the President should rather test the federal might on the killers of innocent Nigerians instead of sending troops against unarmed peaceful agitators of self rule.