Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja and Okey Sampson, Aba
The Presidency has dismissed controversial leader of the Indigenous People Of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu’s threat that he is returning to the country “with hell,” assuring that there is no cause for alarm.
Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, in a statement, described Kanu’s outburst as a mere distraction which will not be allowed to threaten the cordial relationships between Nigeria and other countries.
Kanu, had disappeared last year after clashes between his supporters and soldiers involved in a military exercise, Operation Python Dance in Abia State.
IPOB supporters had accused the military of killing their leader. His trial for felony was also stalled due to his absence as his lawyer insisted he was either killed or kidnapped by soldiers, who attacked his family house during the military exercise.
The separatist leader, however, appeared in a video last Friday; with his lawyer, Ifeanyi Ejiofor, saying he had since spoken to his client who apparently escaped from the country.
Although the video showed him in Israel, the Israeli government has said Kanu had not entered the country recently and the video could be an old one.
Kanu later did a broadcast last Sunday from his hideout.
“I’ve returned full-time and I’m coming back home. I’ll bring hell with me,” Kanu said in the broadcast monitored on the IPOB Facebook page.
He insisted on his group’s demand for a referendum for Igbo to determine if they want to be part of Nigeria or a separate Biafra country.
But Shehu, in the statement said “the Presidency wishes to restate that Nigeria, under President Muhammadu Buhari, is strong enough to defend its territory against any threat.
“Instead, we see the re-enactment of his bizarre, episodic threat as a mere distraction, which will not be allowed to detract from the existing cordial relationships between Nigeria and other countries. The Buhari administration is in constant touch with other friendly nations and has the best assurances that they would continue to reciprocate the respect Nigeria has for the sovereignty of their nations.
“Nigerians have nothing to fear.”
Meanwhile, Kanu’s family has accused former publicity secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Olisa Metuh, of using the party’s former youth mobiliser, Deji Adeyanju, to pull down Kanu and destabilise IPOB.
In an interview, spokesman of the family, Emmanuel Kanu, referred to a statement allegedly credited to Adeyanju, where he was reported to have said uncomplimentary things about the IPOB leader.
“Deji Adeyanju, former PDP youth mobiliser said over the weekend that Nnamdi Kanu surfaced in Israel because he was broke financially and that if the IPOB leader steps into Nigeria, he (Adeyanju) will personally fight and destroy him.