UMUAHIA – the Fear and apprehension have gripped Umuahia, particularly Afaraukwu area, hometown of leader of Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, as police and pro-Biafra groups exchanged verbal missiles over burial of IPOB leader’s parents.
While the police warned it would not like to see IPOB members or pro-Biafran groups near Umuahia and Isiama Afaraukwu during the burial of Eze Israel Kanu and Ugoeze Sally Kanu, pro-Biafra groups insisted nothing would make them not to attend the burial.
Daily Sun learnt that the arrival of some members of IPOB outside Abia State for the burial has heightened tension.
A visit to Afaraukwu yesterday revealed morbid fear among residents as a result of the stance of the police and IPOB. Some schools had been ordered to close for mid-term break for fear of risking students given the threats by police and IPOB.
A resident who would not want his name mentioned told Daily Sun that some members of the community would not witness the burial due to insecurity.
“We are packing our things and travelling to the village,” said a couple who also spoke on condition of anonymity.
Some members of the community, however, continued in their activities not bothered by the outcome of the burial.
IPOB and Ohanaeze Youths Council are, however, not happy with the position of security agencies which they consider provocative and insulting to Igbo traditional.
Nnamdi Kanu’s younger brother and spokesman of the family, Prince Emmanuel Kanu, said they have repeatedly assured that the burial would be peaceful, hence there was no need to deploy security personnel to the venue. It was gathered that a contingent of three police mobile units have been drafted to Abia to beef up security in Umuahia and environs.
It is expected that the military, which have been patrolling Afaraukwu for days would be on guard to forestall breakdown of law and order.
Abia Commissioner of Police, Mr. Ene Okon, held a meeting with leaders of Afaraukwu community where he promised that police would provide security at the venue to ensure a smooth burial.
He insisted that IPOB must not participate in the burial and demanded that CCTV mounted at strategic government properties by unknown persons be removed.
Despite all these, President- General of Afaraukwu community, Chief Ikechukwu Ndubueze, has condemned the unnecessary tension the burial has generated.
He said there was no need for people to panic, promising the burial would be peaceful.
Meanwhile, Kanu, has apologised to Abia State Commissioner of Police, Eneh Okon for threatening to deal with his children if anything untoward from the police happens to any member of the pro Biafra group at the burial of his parents.
Kanu apologised in a live broadcast on Radio Biafra, saying anger of the security siege in his community coupled with the outburst of senior security operatives in state against the burial took over him when he made the threat.
Kanu acknowledged that he went too far in the threat, saying “children should always be left out”.
“This Friday, mourners in Biafra will come together to attend the funeral for my beloved parents, Eze Israel Okwu Kanu and Ugoeze Sally Nmenme Kanu. During this time of mourning, the Indigenous People of Biafra are living in a constant state of fear.
“The Abia State Commissioner of Police is threatening to disrupt the funeral and there continues to be a large military presence in the area, which has a history of inflicting violence against IPOB. This has caused a range of emotions for me. I have now gone from an extreme sense of sadness after losing my parents, to an extreme sense of anger knowing that the mourners are in grave danger”. (Daily Sun)