* As preparations for monarch’s burial get underway
From Steve Oko, Umuahia
The Isiama Afaraukwu Ibeku Umuahia kinsmen of the Leader of the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra, IPOB, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu have asked those jittery over a possible security breach during the burial of Kanu’s parents not to panic.
Kanu’s late parents HRM Eze Israel Kanu, and Lolo Sally Kanu who died last year have been slated for burial tomorrow, February 14.
But some residents of Afaraukwu and its environs following verbal altercations between the police and IPOB over who should attend the event.
While the police have warned IPOB members not to attempt to show up at the event or be seriously dealt with, IPOB on the other hand have asked police to steer clear from the burial, saying the presence of security operatives is “provocative “.
As the war of words rages between police and IPOB, tension and panic have continued to mount across the state.
When our correspondent visited the palace Thursday afternoon for the on-the-spot assessment of the situation around the community, it was discovered that the community was peaceful and calm.
Mourners and relations of the family were observed in the compound engaged in a lot of activities as part of the preparations for the burial.
The youths were also observed digging the graves for the interment of the couple.
Both graves which are very close to each other were at the final stage ahead of the burial.
In an interview our correspondent, the Village Head, Chief Chimobi Ndumele said there was no cause for alarm.
He expressed confidence that contrary to speculations and wrong information flying around, the burial would be peaceful.
According to him those fleeing the community are only stranger elements.
He said there was no need for panic because the community and Kanu’s family were only after giving a beffiting and peaceful burial for their monarch and the wife.
Adding his voice the Chief Security Officer of the village, Mr. Friday Chimobi, assured mourners and guests of their maximum security during the burial.
He said adequate security arrangements had been put in place to secure the environment and all guests.
Chimobi said there was no need for the police and other security agencies to show up at the event which he said “is a traditional thing”.
He said he was not expecting any commotion or face -off between security personnel and IPOB because “it is uncalled for “.
The Chief Security Officer enjoined all those intending to attend the burial not to shelve their intention because of wrong information.
Caterers were also observed preparing some food items ahead of tomorrow.
Similarly, some earth moving equipment were busy working on the 500-metre road that leads to the palace.
The road construction was being undertaken by the Abia State Government as part of preparations for the burial.
No security personnel from any security agencies either the police or army were sighted around the palace.
Similarly, no IPOB members were sighted around the vicinity.
It is however not yet known if the peaceful atmosphere would be interrupted by the presence of security operatives and IPOB, but from our findings the burial is much likely going to be hitch -free.