The situation is edgy. The atmosphere is hazy and entire Nigeria, especially the South East is charged over the reappearance of the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, Nnamdi Kanu in Nigeria again after four years he disappeared into thin air.
It is not yet clear how he reappeared because there are different versions about his showing his face in Nigeria again which he said some time ago that he would come back with hell. “I’ll come back to Nigeria with hell,” he was quoted as saying. It is however a huge surprise that Kanu came back to Nigeria handcuffed like a criminal.
Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, who briefed the press on Monday, June 28, 2021, said he was arrested abroad with the help of the Interpol to continue his trail in Nigeria over charges of treasonable felony for allegedly inciting people into violence and insurrection.
Some stories have it that he was arrested in Britain, some others in Kenya, while some say Ukraine, but no one has said categorically that he was arrested here or there. The Anglican bishop of Enugu and Arch bishop of the Eccelessiatical Province, Archbishop Emmanuel Olisachukwuma, alleged that he was trapped by a lady from Britain to Brazil where he was caught, tranquilised and brought back to Nigeria to face criminal charges.
Whatever the manner and circumstances whereby he was brought back to Nigeria is immaterial. What is important and a source of concern and anxiety is what would befall him. There is fear that he could be jailed, killed or freed but whichever one, what would be the fate of the Biafra agitation which brought about his ordeal in the first place. Will his imprisonment bring the end of the agitation? Will his possible death bring about the end to the agitation or will freeing him bring about the restoration of Biafra or will he be sternly warned not to talk about Biafra again and that would be the end? These are some of the questions that agitate the mind in various quarters in Nigeria today.
Already, individuals and organisations have started airing their views on the notty issue on ground. The spiritual leader of Adoration Ministry Enugu Nigeria, AMEN, Rev. Fr. Ejike Mbaka known for his outspokenness and acrid criticism of government policies, posited that arresting Nnamdi Kanu would not be the end of the road for the Biafra agitation because to him the issues that sparked the agitation are yet to be addressed.
“Arresting Nnamdi Kanu will not stop the agitation because the issues have not be addressed. Many people are clapping for the Federal Government now but when the heat becomes unbearable; when the sun riots, when the heavens shake, you will understand,” Mbaka who had blessed Nnamdi Kanu and the IPOB recently on his Adoration ground that pitched him against the Enugu Roman Catholic bishop, Dr. Callistus Onaga, said.
However, another clergy man, the archbishop of Enugu Ecclesiastical Province of the Anglican Church in Nigeria, Dr. Emmanuel Olisachukwuma in an interview with some journalists did not give hope to Kanu and the Biafra agitation. He rather accused him of being lured by a woman from Britain, United Kingdom, to Brazil where he was allegedly caught and brought back to Nigeria like a frightened Squirrel.
Chukwuma said Igbo leaders persuaded him from embarking on the agitation but he would not listen adding that he got what befell him presently.
Commenting on the notty issue, a faction of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, lambasted Nnamdi Kanu for engaging in inflammatory and unguarded utterances positing that the Federal Government may not let him go this time around since he allegedly jumped bail when attempt was made to kill in 2017. Spokesman of the factional Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Mazi Okechukwu Isiguzoro, its secretary-general, said Kanu’s refusal to listen to Igbo leaders’ advice led him to his predicament and ordeal.
The group however advised the federal government to handle the IPOB leader’s case carefully in order to prevent violent revolts from his followers.
“The re-arrest of Nnamdi Kanu the leader of IPOB is the beginning of the end of violent agitations in southeastern Nigeria and a lesson to others that, deviation from the nonviolent agitations and wasting of the innocent blood of the Igbo youths contradicted what Igbos are known for, and self-determination should not be used for purposes of fortune and fame-seeking.
“Nnamdi Kanu’s refusal to adhere to the advice of Igbo leaders, Elders, and political leaders is the outcome of what had befallen him. He made a lot of enemies especially those that would have saved him and Federal Government will never lose grip on him again.
“We don’t think that any Igbo leader will stick out his/her neck for him, his re-arrest will eventually bring peace and stability to the region and averted another civil war that was raging on.
“Federal Government should handle the situation carefully because his large followers of IPOB would resort to violent revolts. His trial should be strictly based on the laws of the land. They shouldn’t kill him because it will destabilize the entire country.”
The group called for calm and cautioned the Ndigbo to desist from any form of protests and processions that will bring “more catastrophe” to the south-east.
The stance of the factional Ohanaeze may not be true that Igbos will abandon Nnamdi Kanu to his unpredictable fate. Already, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, who had helped in securing his bail in 2017, has cautioned that his rearrest should be handled according to the rule of law, an indication that if need be, he might stick his neck again contrary to Isiguzoro’s submission that Nnamdi Kanu is now a pariah.
Neither saying yes, or no, the main Ohanaeze Ndigbo led by Prof. George Obiozor dismissed the factional Ohanaeze’s claims that nobody in Igbo land would stick his neck for Nnamdi Kanu.
The secretary general of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief Alex Ogbonnia in a disclaimer statement, said they never issued any press statement on Kanu’s rearrest. Ogbonnia said Ohanaeze does not rush into making statements in a hurry without first getting a good grip on the situation. This is an indication that the IPOB leader, though not supported by Ohanaeze Ndigbo may not abandon Kanu to his chi, according to Achebe in Things Fall Apart.
It has been gathered that majority of Igbo people are desirous to have a sovereign nation and are solidly behind the embattled IPOB leader. People will gather in groups and will be discussing on the issue. On some newsstands, some people will burst into songs and sing praises of Nnamdi Kanu to high heaven. “Holy, Holy, Holy, Nnamdi Kanu is another saviour,” they will sing and dance, showing that Nnamdi Kanu is not alone in the agitation for a sovereign state.
An Igbo Interest group, Voice from the East, On Thursday July 1, embarked on protest of streets demanding for Nnamdi Kanu’s unconditional release. On the placards that read, “free Nnamdi Kanu now, Have you arrested Boko Haram leader, among other things, they asked the Federal Government to let him go. Leader and convener of the group Comrade Kindness Jonah told journalists that nothing should happen to Nnamdi Kanu if the country must remain together.
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