I do hope President Buhari is listening and would listen this time by providing the much needed answer to the question, ‘Where is Nnamdi Kanu?’
I wish to thank my numerous fans and readers who had been concerned about the fate of this column and my welfare for the period I was away and indisposed. The fact was that I needed the time out too to sort some issues and to reflect on the way forward.
A lot has happened in the past few years throwing up the nature of our politics and the unrestrained violence that has engulfed our dear country from Benue to Maiduguri, Taraba, Adamawa, Yobe, Zamfara, Sokoto, Plateau, Delta and Nasarawa. No part of Nigeria seems safe as the violence seem to spread by the day.
Under the current reign of impunity, people are killed in tens, hundreds and thousands. Armless and defenseless protesters in their numbers were killed by security agents across the South East and parts of Kaduna raising the question of ‘who is killing who and why?’ If the killings happened in Adamawa or Borno , we are quick to blame Boko Haram; if the theatre of killings are in Benue, Niger or Taraba we quickly blame it on herdsmen in pastoral conflict, same way if the killings happen in Zamfara and Sokoto we blame it on armed bandits.
We forget too quickly that sometimes politicians in their struggle for supremacy do some of the killings and kidnappings. We forget that people in property disputes and business rivalries also sponsor their own killings and kidnappings. We forget that compromised security goons with eyes on the fat security budgets create a state of insecurity.
For the period my column was silent, we witnessed the Offa terrorist action tagged Offa Robbery, the invasion of the National Assembly by masked gunmen and of course the yet to be explained disappearance of Nnamdi Kanu , leader of IPOB and a person of substantial political interest. The last time anyone saw or heard from Kanu was when the Military stormed his abode in Afara, purportedly on ‘Operation Python Dance’. As the pythons danced in Afara some armless and defenseless youths who quartered at the home of the IPOB leader were reportedly constricted and their lives paused while some were taken away and held as prisoners with no one talking about them. It was under this circumstance that Kanu and the father who also was the traditional ruler of Afara disappeared.
Several conspiratorial theories are currently squirming around their disappearance. Some unverified claims, held that the military killed him and secretly disposed of his body while another report claimed he is alive and in the safe-custody of the military who is holding him captive against his will onboard a Naval Ship off the Atlantic Ocean in Bayelsa State. The military consistently denied the two claims even though such denials appear tough to believe.
I have also read of Kanu being sighted in Ghana, and another unsubstantiated report of him being sighted in the UK. I do not believe that Kanu is alive and free. The Kanu I knew is very vivacious and loquacious. He is someone who loves the microphone and likes to hug the camera like the bees like honey. Kanu cannot be too quiet for too long if he is a free man in a free world, not when some of his prophetic teachings are manifesting day by day.
At the time of writing this article, about 114 Igbo women , some of whom are grandmothers , pregnant and nursing mothers are languishing in jail in Owerri for staging a peaceful protest where they rightfully demanded for the where about of their son, brother, uncle, husband and leader, Mazi Nnamdi Nkanu.
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For this, the women were accused by the police of unlawful assembly and were charged before a Magistrate Court who denied them bail.
According to reports the women are currently denied access to visitors and doctors. Relations who thronged the prison to bring them food, water, medicines, toiletries etc were turned back by prison officers. A team of volunteer doctors who visited the prison to offer medical help to some of the women were diabetic and hypertensive were refused access to the detainees , the same way some priests who came to exhort them spiritually were denied access. Sanitary conditions in the already congested prison facility is said to be appalling as many of the women risk contacting life threatening diseases.
The arrest of the women is condemnable. They had done nothing wrong other than exercise their constitutional rights of self determination, freedom of association and of assembly as provided and guaranteed by the 1999 Constitution. Their protest was peaceful and orderly. The held no weapon and did not assault or attack anyone. All they had were their courage, their conscience, their voice and their placards, and yet they were manhandled ,brutalized and hauled into prison by the police. Pushing politics of fear, intimidation and intolerance for which the regime in Nigeria, the police and other security agencies have acquired notoriety should have no place in democracy hence I call for the unconditional release of these Igbo mothers.
One of the most important things in politics is to listen and I do hope President Buhari is listening and would listen this time by providing the much needed answer to the question, ‘Where is Nnamdi Kanu?’
President Buhari would have by now read or heard of how the DSS under his watch detained and tortured citizen Jones Ebiri, a journalist. Jones Ebiri was detained in an underground cell for two years and denied access to his wife and children. According to his story he, was chained and blindfolded for weeks. He was for two years denied access to medicine and doctors.
Only God knows how many more citizens are being held captive and in servitude ,and without trial. This again is a dent on the image of this administration. The inhuman treatment suffered by Ebiri violated Section 34 of the 1999 Constitution which Mr. President swore to uphold.
Hate him or like him, Mazi Kanu is a good man who campaigned for the freedom of his people. He held political opinion which millions of people may disagree with. However, there are millions that agrees with him because of their frustration with corruption, nepotism, injustice and inequality that have dogged Nigeria from 1966 to date. Kanu’s message is not lost on his followers.
Whatever may be the disagreement, and no matter what he is being accused of, it is a stain on us as a people and a scar on our national image for any citizen to just vanish. If a notable person of interest like Kanu can disappear it means any of us can be caused rapture without any trace.
We need to know where Kanu is .. If he is alive , he need his freedom to join his family and to live a peaceful life; if he has committed a crime , he should have his day in court and if he is dead , they should produce his body so that we his people can give him a decent burial and a marked grave.