Defence & Security

Kanu tells gunmen to stop killing in S’East

By Paul Michael (Abuja) and Athan Agbakwuru (Owerri)

  • Court denies IPOB leader, days after Buhari’s Rwanda declaration
  • Police in Imo arrest killers of ex-presidential aide Gulak

Embattled leader of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, has admonished those engaged in the killings in the South East in the name of the group to stop the carnage forthwith. According to him, there is no sense in killing the same people for which the Biafran effort was being made.

Kanu, dressed in his trademark Fendi attire, which he has worn since the first time he was arraigned last year, was speaking at the premises of the Federal High Court, Abuja, during the continuation of his trial on Tuesday, according to a video being circulated in the social media.

In the video, Kanu, spotting a well-trimmed white beard, and appearing unperturbed despite being denied bail by Justice Binta Murtala Nyako, the presiding judge at the court, spoke against the backdrop of the official position by the Federal Government and even state governments, linking the IPOB to the killings. Two prominent politicians have been beheaded in less than three months in Anambra, apart from the killing of some other prominent people.

“I want our people to be calm. I want Biafra land to be calm just and peaceful. I want Biafra land to be calm and very peaceful. That’s why I’m here. We’re fighting to defend our people and not to kill them and we’ll continue to do so until we get freedom,” he said.

Also, IPOB had declared another sit-athome on Tuesday in the Southeast ahead of the trial of Kanu.

IPOB’s spokesperson, Emma Powerful, said, “We normally announce last time that any day our leader will appear in court, everybody will solidarize with our leader Mazi Nnamdi Kanu. “Therefore, there will be sit-at-home in Igbo land and other areas where Ndigbo reside.”

However, Imo Police Command has arrested one Anosike Chimaobi of Umuedo Obohia, in the Ahiazu Mbaise LGA over the gruesome murder of a former presidential aide, Ahmed Gulak, during his visit to the state in March last year.

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The suspect was also reportedly nabbed in connection with the burning of police stations at Aboh Mbaise, Ahiazu Mbaise, Ezinihitte Mbaise, Ihitte-Uboma and Obowo areas. Parading the suspects and others, the Police Public Relations Officer, PPRO, Michael Abattam, told journalists in Owerri that Chimaobi had confessed to have kidnapped one Jude Nwahiri at Eke Nguru Junction in Aboh Mbaise LGA as well as the serial attacks and murder of many police officers and stealing of their riffles.

Abattam, on behalf of the Commissioner of Police, Mohammed Barde, listed exhibits recovered from the suspect to include: one locally made pistol with 2 rounds of live ammunitions, one Biafra flag, 1 IPOB, ESN War flag and 30 war cutlasses. The PPRO also mentioned four suspects who he said are members of the outlawed IPOB/ ESN but who claimed to be unknown gunmen terrorizing Oru East, Oru West and the State as a whole.

His words, “They are among the syndicates that burnt and attacked the Palace of Dr. George Obiozor, the Chairman of the Ohaneze Ndigbo on 19th March this year,” adding that the same syndicate kidnapped an abroad based philanthropist- Chief Okoro (Jnr) of Ubachima, Awo-Omamma, Oru East Council Area when the victim visited his home town, shared palliatives and empowered some youths.

“A ransom of N1million was collected by the hoodlums before they released the victim while his police orderly-one Inspector Ado Ibrahim of 43 PMF was murdered by the hoodlums.” Abattam said that the suspects having committed the offence ran to Lagos State before the operatives of the anti-kidnapping Unit strategized and apprehended them, even as they confessed to be members of IPOB/ESN, kidnapping, armed robbery and murder of the police officer.

Abattam disclosed that the command’s antikidnapping Unit upon the receipt of credible intelligence that some members of IPOB/ESN had concluded plans to kidnap a Japan based Nigerian who visited his home town, Umutei Mgbele, Oguta Council area, swiftly swung into action, foiled the kidnap “when the terrorists appeared in security officers uniform.

“The potential victim, he said was saved from being kidnapped while the hoodlums resorted to robbing the people they got at the vicinity,” he said. The police spokesman gave names of the other three suspects as; Chigaemezu Esogwa aged 24 of Logara in the Ngor Okpala Council Area, Kelvin Afoku aged 21 of Umuoma Nekede-Owerri West LGA and Munachi Umunnawuike aged 26 years of Umuanuma Aboh Mbaise LGA arrested for terrorism, kidnapping, armed robbery/murder.

He hinted that all the suspects have volunteered statements, confessed to the crime of armed robberies within the Naze Timber market and its environs with a number of exhibits recovered from them. Also, anti-kidnapping Unit of the Imo State Police Command arrested a suspected serial child trafficker who specializes in snatching and stealing children from their parents.

Abattam hinted that the 28years old suspect who hails from Amagu Amandimolu in Eziaka LGA of Enugu State, stole a female baby of a year and six month old from one Chinenye Oru from Abakiliki in Ebonyi State. According to him, the suspect deceived the lady and took her to Umuahia in Abia State in pretence of offering her a job to enable him cunningly collect her baby and sell it off.

He said, “when Chinenye then started disturbing the suspect to return her baby, he decided to convey her to where her baby was kept. On there way, according to the PPRO, at a lonely part of Owerri/Umuahia Road, he deceived the lady that his vehicle had developed fault and that she should alight from the car to check under the car.

“When the innocent lady obeyed the suspect by bending under the car, the suspect immediately hit her with iron rod on her head and when she slumped, the suspect used his Avalon car and matched her to death.” When interviewed by newsmen, the suspect confessed to the crime of child trafficking and murder saying that this is the second time he is involved in such crime.

He said, “I immediately sold the baby at N4,000” and the moment he received alert of the money, he decided to do away with the lady. “Before her death,” according to the suspect “I deceived her that I would raise N100,000 for her to start POS business while her baby would be handed to someone who would take care of her to avoid anything disturbing her business.”

Justice Binta Murtala Nyako denied Kanu bail more than one year into his detention in the facility of the Department of State Services (DSS) in Abuja. Nyako, who had previously granted the IPOB boss bail in 2017, dismissed a fresh application from Kanu, who has been in detention since he was spirited out from Kenya back to Nigeria in June last year, after fleeing to London more than five years ago, from where he assailed the Nigerian government, particularly President Muhammadu Buhari.

The latest development in the high-interest case, is coming about four days after Buhari himself said in Kigali, Rwanda that, considering Kanu’s jumping of bail earlier, the Federal Government may not consider granting him such a privilege anymore.

“His (Kanu’s) lawyers have access to him. Remember he jumped bail before, how are we sure he won’t do it again if he’s admitted to bail?,” Buhari had stated. Kanu, not only called Nigeria a zoo, but insisted that the person in power in Nigeria, was clone and not the real Buhari, amid other uncomplimentary remarks against the President and his government.

Nyako, the judge, in her ruling on Tuesday, in the amended 15-count charge bordering on treasonable felony, brought against the IPOB leader, dismissed the application as an abuse of court process having been previously denied. While counts 6,7,9,10,11,12,13 and 14 were struck out, the defendant is to stand trial on counts 1,2,3,4,5,8 and 15, the court, which struck out eight of the the initial 15-count charge, stated.

Buhari, had while interacting with Boris Johnson, the British Prime Minister on the sidelines of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGOM), in Kigali, sworn that he was not going to intervene in the matter, telling his British counterpart that the IPOB leader would be given the chance, “to justify all the uncomplimentary things said against Nigeria while he was in Britain.”

Dismissing the allegation that Kanu was not allowed to see his lawyers privately, the President said the detained IPOB boss was being given every opportunity under the law. “He felt very safe in Britain and said awful things against Nigeria. We eventually got him when he stepped out of the United Kingdom, and we sent him to court. Let him defend all that he said ththe,” Buhari said.

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