â€¢ IPOB: Boycotting Anambra election is our last card to achieving referendum
By Emmanuel Ugwu in Umuahia and David-Chyddy Eleke in Awka
After the September 14 invasion of the home of the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, soldiers yesterday raided the place once again, saying they were searching for â€œtechnical items.â€
The latest incursion was made known by the younger brother of the IPOB leader, Emmanuel Kanu, who told journalists on phone that the raid was carried out even when the military was yet to account for the whereabouts of his brother and leader of IPOB.
He alleged that household items were carted away by â€œthe invaders,â€ including television sets, generators, clothes, among other belongings of the royal family of Afaraukwu Ibeku.
According to him, the palace was â€œlootedâ€ following the raid.
He therefore called on the international community to prevail on the Nigerian Army to stop further raiding of his fatherâ€™s palace and to also account for the whereabouts of the IPOB leader.
However, the desk officer of Operation Python Dance in charge of Abia State, who had always refused to reveal his identity when contacted on phone, confirmed the raid, saying it was a joint operation with the state police command.
He denied that household items were removed from the home of the Kanus, insisting that â€œthe things removed may be technical itemsâ€ and that â€œsomebody was arrested with weapon in the compound.â€
The Operation Python Dance desk officer said the joint operation at the home of IPOB leader was based on intelligence report at the disposal of the security agencies which, according to him, indicated that arms were hidden in the compound.
The Abia State Police Command which was named as a party in the joint operation did not confirm its participation as phone calls put through to both the state police commissioner, Mr. Anthony Ogbizi and the state Police Public Relations Officer, Mr. Geoffrey Ogbonna, did not yield positive results. Both men did not pick the calls and neither called back while the PPRO did not respond to text messages sent to him
Meanwhile, IPOB has said boycotting the Anambra State governorship election is the only card left for its members living in the state to demonstrate their resolve to leave Nigeria through the conduct of a referendum.
A statement by the groupâ€™s Publicity Secretary, Mr. Emma Powerful, stated that IPOB members in Biafraland would boycott the Anambra gubernatorial election on November 18, 2017, describing it as the day of destiny for all lovers of freedom.
The statement read: â€œEvery genuine Biafran desiring of freedom for Biafra from this Islamic bondage of Hausa Fulani caliphate called Nigeria must not only stay at home on that day, but must also make sure those around them do not vote. November 18, 2017 is a date with history.
â€œIf we Biafrans succeed in demonstrating before international observers that we are serious about our freedom by locking down Anambra State on that day, the world will be in no doubt that Biafra is unstoppable. Our destiny is firmly in our hands.
â€œWe must teach corrupt Igbo politicians that money cannot buy IPOB because we are special breed untainted by the corrupt tendencies of Nigerian politics. Locking down Anambra State will pave the way for IPOB to announce a date for substantive referendum later next year with or without the approval of Nigeria.â€
The group said events in Catalonia and Kurdistan have pointed the way forward for it because it was clearly demonstrated by both nations that IPOB can call for and conduct its own referendum with or without the cooperation of Nigeria. It said that election boycott is the only legitimate tool left in the hands of oppressed people to register their displeasure with the ongoing genocide, arbitrary arrests and torture across Biafraland.
The statement further added that the whole world was watching to see how serious the group was towards the realisation of Biafra, and that the successful boycott of the election come November 18 will prove to the entire world how determined they were towards having their own nation.
â€œWe are therefore asking every Biafran and IPOB member who believe in the supremacy of the restoration of Biafra over deceitful game of Nigerian politics to sit at home and not venture outdoor on the 18th November 2017 no matter the amount of threat.
â€œIPOB under the supreme command and leadership of Nnamdi Kanu is determined to show the world how serious we are towards the restoration of Biafra. Come the 18th of November, the world will know that Biafrans cannot participate in a fraudulent election organised by those that came to our land, killed us and when we complained, they tagged us terrorists.
â€œWe must remain strong and resolute before our enemies as our leader taught us. He have come too far to allow propaganda and blackmail to derail us. As the blessed children of the Most High, it is our duty to let the world know that terrorists donâ€™t vote.â€
However, the number of people arrested by security agencies for belonging to IPOB has further swelled the already congested prisons in Abia State, thereby raising fresh concerns over the welfare of detainees and inmates.
Scores of young persons suspected to be IPOB members have been rounded up by the military and other security agencies in the wake of the Operation Egwu Eke (Python Dance II), a military exercise launched in Abia and other states of the South-east zone, which is expected to end on October 14.
The arrested persons many of whom had been arraigned in court were remanded in prison custody pending the conclusion of their court trials.
The state Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Chief Umeh Kalu (SAN), said he was aware that the prisons have been overstretched with the arrival of IPOB members arrested in the wake of the clampdown by security agencies.
To this end, he has donated 100 mattresses to the prisons, which he handed over to the state Controller of Prisons, Mr. Sylvester Ayoka, to ameliorate the dire conditions of the detainees, especially those being held at Umuahia and Aba prisons.
Speaking at the event, Kalu appealed to all men of goodwill to come to the prison services to take good care of the detainees and inmates of the prisons as their capacities were being stretched to explosive limits.
â€œThey (detainees) deserve a comfortable place to lay their heads,â€ adding that â€œit all in our interest to reform the prisons so that when they (detainees and inmates) come out they wonâ€™t come out with bitterness against the society.â€
The AG, who has held the position over the past eight years, said he had always been interfacing with the prisons and was quite aware of the challenges facing them.
Kalu noted that he had in the past made some interventions to improve the prisons, including roofing of one prison apartment, organising medical outreaches, adding that security would be meaningless without an effective prison service.
The state Controller of Prisons, Ayoka, lauded Kalu for his assistance and urged other public-spirited individuals and groups to emulate his gesture.