- .As son’s incarceration takes a toll on the monarch, daughter says
From OKEY SAMPSON, Aba
THE challenges being faced by the family of detained leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, Nnamdi Kanu appear to be getting worse as his continued detention is taking its toll on his father’s health.
The initial brief of this reporter was to have an interview with Nnamdi’s father, HRH (Eze) Israel Okwu Kanu at his Afaraukwu, Umuahia home. However, the plan had to be put on hold following disclosure that Eze Kanu was seriously ill.
Nnamdi Kanu’s incarceration and father’s indisposition
Before embarking on the journey to Afaraukwu palace, a call was put across to Princess kanu (Nnamdi’s younger sister) who described herself as the baby of the house to, as always, help arrange an the interview with her father. She acceded to the request, despite a proviso that His Royal Highness was indisposed. Upon arrival, it was discovered that the monarch’s health had grown worse than envisaged and as a result, the interview with the monarch could not hold. In order to return empty handed, the princess elected to speak in her father’s stead. But just before the interview commenced, a thought flashed through my mind, ‘could the royal father’s sickness be linked to his son’s continued incarceration by the Federal Government?’ Indeed, that thought formed the first question.
“Partly, yes”, was the swift response from Princess. “Our father is worried over Nnamdi’s continued incarceration and he is rightly so because no good father would not be worried over such detention particularly when the son did not do anything wrong”. Like an antidote to a festering wound, Princess believed that getting Nnamdi released will no doubt be the panacea to making the Septuagenarian traditional ruler gey well fast. “He will get instant healing; I believe, if that happens”.
Nnamdi kanu’s father is not alone in his worry over the son’s continued incarceration by the Federal Government. According to Princess, it’s been mixed feelings so far. Mixed feelings in the sense that what could have been a bundle of joy by the IPOB leader’s wife putting to bed in far away London was thwarted by his continued incarceration. “We are concerned about his continued incarceration, emotionally, it has shattered us, but we actually need to be strong for him and we are being strong for him”. The director of Radio Biafra’s wife is not feeling indifferently all the same. “She is okay. Naturally, no young woman will be happy that her husband is incarcerated because the husband was supposed to be there, to see the new born baby. So, there is no way she should be happy. Inside of her, she is not happy, but she is doing good”. Nevertheless, the family is happy over the new addition but not to the extent it should have been if Nnamdi was not incarcerated.
Alarm over assassination attempt
Nnamdi Kanu’s younger sister was of the view that those who raised the alarm over attempt to assassinate her brother in detention did so, going by how the former judge handling the case went about it. “The Judge handling the matter, to the best of my knowledge is an incorruptible judge. IPOB members who raised the alarm did so because they were not comfortable with the way the judge, Justice John Tsoho was carrying on with the case and they felt something was fishy. It was the judge that said the masking of witnesses in the case was inappropriate and coming back again to say that he would allow masked men to testify in the case of Nnamdi Kanu is a shame and was enough for IPOB members to feel the way they are feeling. Despite the fact that a court of competent jurisdiction ruled against Nnamdi Kanu being secretly tried, they on April 5 went ahead to give the IPOB leader secret trial when he did not allow people to attend the trial and only few journalists were allowed into the court room”, she asserted.
Continuing she said, “This is not a terrorism case, even at that, Boko Haram members and those that have been known to be their sponsors have been working around freely left, right and centre, causing a lot of mayhem and havoc, but Nnamdi Kanu was never caught wounding anybody. He is just a prisoner of conscience and I maintain that. So , the Federal Government is shopping for witnesses. Let them go to the open market and shop and I hope they will get more”.
Princess said despite the fact that it was no longer news that there have been attempts to assassinate the director of Radio Biafra, she expressed optimism that it wouldn’t work because she believes in what Ezechukwu Okike Abiama (God) can do, and that He will always protect him from the hands of his enemy.
Return of Radio Biafra
Princess who could be described as an activist in her own right, never liked the idea that Radio Biafra which she compared to IPOB went off air. Hear her, “IPOB is an ideology. There is nothing anybody can do to stop it, the more they kill us, the more we come even stronger. The issue is not about Radio Biafra being on air or not because it had not gone off air. The rumour that the broadcast outfit went off air was Nigeria media propaganda, the radio never went off air, it has always been there and will continue to be”.
Petition to British Government
Rumour made the rounds recently that Nnamdi had begged the British Government to wade into the matter and mount pressure on the Federal Government to get him released from detention. Princess said it was not particularly so. Placing the facts on the table, she said that the petition Nnamdi’s lawyer forwarded to the British High Commission was all about trying to tell the British Government about the unlawful incarceration of her brother. She said it was a way of reminding the British Government that the Federal Government was not complying with the way the judicial system ought to be in Nigeria and to let them know too that the presidency is doing all it could to make sure that justice is denied Nnamdi Kanu.
Her words, “There is rumour going around right now that Nnamdi is begging the British Government to come and rescue him from the clutches of the Nigerian Government, which is not true. As a British citizen, the British Government is supposed to give him all the adequate protection that is needed, so his fundamental human rights should be protected as well. So, all this his dual citizenship stuff is just rubbish, it is not a crime at all, we all know that it is not a crime”.
She expressed joy that officials of the British High Commission responded by visiting the IPOB leader in prison, which according to her was an indication that they have not forgotten him in jail. “Some people are saying that the British and Nigerian Governments are working closely on how to get Nnamdi Kanu released, but I’m not aware of that. But if they need soft landing, it is possible because they don’t have any evidence against him. If they have evidence, I don’t see the reason why people should be masked to testify against him. When Ken Saro-Wiwa was killed, someone came out openly and testified and nothing happened to the testifier. When you are sure of what you are doing, why would you want to mask yourself to come and testify against someone? To me, it does not make sense. I think internationally, Nnamdi kanu’s trial has reduced Nigeria to nothing”. Saro-Wiwa was killed, someone came
Ohaneze’s helping hand
Princess said she finds it difficult to place Ohaneze Ndigbo on the travails of her brother. “I heard that Ohaneze Ndigbo is trying to wade into the matter, but I don’t know what to say. Ohaneze Ndigbo, I think they have different factions. The apex Igbo socio cultural organization has not been consistent; they have not been honest indeed in terms of this struggle. In one minute, they are in support of Nnamdi kanu, in the next minute, they are in support of the Nigerian Government. So, people who are not consistent, people who are not willing to say ‘I am standing with you come rain come sunshine’, I don’t think they are worthy to be trusted. Nevertheless, if they are coming for good, they are welcomed”.
Princess also has a word for the former governor of Abia State, Theodore Orji over his recent comment that some of them are working behind the scene to get the case of Nnamdi and the Federal Government resolved amicably. “I read his (T.A Orji) comment on Facebook that they are trying to do something under ground for Nnamdi kanu’s release. What are they doing under ground for his release? If they want to talk about Biafra, if they want to talk about Nnamdi kanu, why don’t they come out openly and say it so that our people will be able to know that they are indeed fighting for the Igbo cause. Why have they been keeping quiet all these years until things got to this point?” she queried.
Word for President Buhari
The lady wants President Muhammadu Buhari to obey the court order and release her brother unconditionally; stressing that Buhari cannot be the president, the judge and the prosecutor at the same time. She was of the view that inasmuch as the president has powers to appoint judges, he should allow them to work independently of the executive arm. “The president should allow Mazi Nnamdi kanu go, he is an innocent man, he is a brave, compassionate and kind man. The family is missing Nnamdi badly, so the president should look into the matter and let him go as he has done nothing absolutely wrong. This is a democratic dispensation, he (Nnamdi) has every right to air his opinion and express his views on issues”, she pleaded.
Advice for IPOB members
Ms Kanu has advice for IPOB members who have so far stood by her brother. “My advice to IPOB members is that despite the fact that they are missing the action of their leader, Nnamdi kanu as we family members do, but I want to let them know that Nnmadi Kanu will not disappoint them, he will always be with them for the restoration of the sovereign state of Biafra. Nnamdi Kanu has laid down his life for the freedom of his people. For the first time, a young man was coming out from the blues to make sure that his people were no longer marginalised, to put a stop to incessant killings of Biafrans, I am saying to them that they should keep on keeping on, they should be their brothers’ keepers, onuru ube nwanne agbala oso because it is part of our culture and tradition”, she stressed.