Okey Sampson, Umuahia
The Afaraukwu Eze-in-council involving the three communities that make up Afaraukwu in Umuahia North Local Government of Abia State has announced the death of father of the leader of Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu and the traditional ruler of Afaraukwu Ibeku, Eze Isaac Okwu Kanu.
This is coming less than three months after the official announcement of the death of his wife, Ugoeze Sally Mmeme Kanu by the IPOB leader himself. Eze Kanu who had been the traditional ruler of his community since the year 2000, was aged 86.
In a terse statement, the traditional rulers of Okwulaga Afaraukwu, Eze Eddy Ibeabuchi and Eze P.k. Ukaegbu of Enyiukwu Afaraukwu said their colleague, Eze Kanu died recently after a brief illness.
They said it was painful and unfortunate that Eze Kanu died few months after his wife’s death, noting that this was the first of its kind in the entire Afaraukwu kingdom for a man to die when his late wife had not been buried.
The royal fathers said the remains of their departed colleague would be laid to rest at a latter day after consultation with his family members.
Speaking with Saturday Sun after the announcement, the traditional ruler of Okwulaga, Eze Ibeabuchi said it was a terrible thing that Eze Kanu died few months after the wife’s death, but added that they would accept it without questioning God.
“It has not happened in the entire Afaraukwu before that one’s wife would die and the husband would also die before her burial, it is not an abomination par say, rather, it is a coincidence, it is unfortunate, nobody expected it.
“The invasion of the palace of Eze Kanu in 2017 by soldiers under the guise of Operation Python Dance caused the deaths of both the traditional ruler and his wife. They were smuggled out of their house when the soldiers came and were out of the palace for a long time, that trauma alone was enough to kill the man”.
Eze Ibeabuchi said despite linking the death of the Kanus to the military invasion, people of the area will not be contemplating to sue the Nigerian Army or the Federal Government, rather what the people would be concerned about was how to give their fallen traditional ruler and his wife befitting burial.
He described Eze Kanu as a father to him, regretting he was going to miss his advice which he used to give him regularly.
Also speaking, the traditional ruler of Enyiukwu Afaraukwu, Eze Ukaegbu said the people of the area lacked words to express their feelings over the death of Eze Kanu and his wife almost at the same time.
Eze Ukaegbu said it was quite painful that the father of the IPOB leader died by the time he did, when his wife who had died few months back had not been buried, adding that it was a thing to be worried about.
While saying it was early in the day to talk about the date for the burial, the monarch however said he was going to meet his counterpart from Okwulaga and the family members of the late Eze to discuss a suitable date for the burial.
When contacted, the family spokesman, Emmanuel Kanu confirmed his father’s death, but said the family will as tradition demands, make statement on the matter later.
Meanwhile, the Abia State Government has expressed shock over the death of the traditional ruler of Afaraukwu Ibeku, Eze Isaac Okwu Kanu at the age of 86 years.
In a condolence message signed by the Commissioner for Information, Chief John Okiyi Kalu, the state government recalled the unwavering love and sterling contributions the late traditional ruler made for the development of his community in particular, and Abia State in general.
Eulogizing the late monarch, the government said it was not in doubt, Eze Kanu left a lasting legacy and an indelible impression on the minds of Ndigbo everywhere in the world.
“Death is not the end of man but a necessary passage to a better place in eternity where there is no strife, sorrow or pain. Indeed, Papa has only gone to that better place, and in his usual manner while on earth here, he is praying for all of us from above, especially for the peace, unity and progress of not just his community but also of our State and Alaigbo.
“This should be our consolation so that his beloved family and community he left behind do not continue to weep since we all know that he is resting peacefully now. As a government, we assure the family of late Eze Sir I.O. Kanu and Afaraukwu community of our continued support in all ways we can to help ameliorate the pains of his departure”, the message stated.
In the same vein, IPOB in a statement by its spokesman, Emma Powerful, said, “We the global family of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) ably led by our great leader ,Mazi Nnamdi Kanu wish to console the family our leader Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, the entire Kanu family and the community of Afaraukwu over the passing of their father, uncle, brother and traditional ruler, His Royal Majesty Eze Sir Israel Okwu Kanu, the Egwu Ukwu II of Afaraukwu who joined his ancestors as a result of health complications arising from the trauma of the invasion of his palace by Nigerian soldiers on September 14, 2017 and most recently over the shock of the sudden death of his wife,Ugoeze Sally Nmeme Okwu Kanu.
“We are left in no doubt the military attack on Isiama Afaraukwu and the Kanu family by the armed forces of the Federal Government of Nigeria is the principal cause of death of our leader’s parents. We confidently state, without fear of contradiction, that our leader Mazi Nnamdi Kanu have also sacrificed his parents in pursuit of freedom for the people of Biafra. There is no greater act of devotion to a noble cause than this.Rather than weaken or diminish our resolve to restore Biafra, the passing of our leader’s parents will infuse us with a greater sense of determination because only by accomplishing the liberation of Biafra will we truly mourn them.”