Burial of Kanu’s father, not an IPOB affair – family, Afaraukwu community

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Nnamdi Kanu with father

Family of the late father of Leader of Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, and the people of Isiama Afaraukwu community have called on the federal government to withdraw its troops stationed in the community to give needed serene atmosphere to give their departed monarch, His Royal Majesty, Eze Israel Kanu and his wife, Ugoeze Sally Kanu, a befitting burial, this Friday, February 14.

Nnamdi Kanu with father
Nnamdi Kanu with father, His Royal Majesty, Eze Israel Kanu

In a joint Press briefing in Umuahia on Tuesday, the family, Afaraukwu community and the Ohanaeze Youth Council declared that the upcoming burial was not an IPOB affair but a discharge of traditional obligation which the affected family and the entire Afaraukwu community owe their foremost fallen traditional ruler and his Queen.

Both Eze Kanu and his wife died last year, in December and August, respectively. The family is claiming that the duo died of shock resulting from the army’s invasion of their palace during the September 14, 2017 Operation Python Dance II in Umuahia.

At the Media briefing, the parties expressed apprehension that the presence of soldiers in the community currently was generating tension and creating fears among the people and general public. They said that if it becomes necessary, they were ready to sign a peace accord if that would guarantee them the privacy they need to bury their dead according to their tradition.

Prince Emmanuel Kanu, younger brother of Nnamdi, said the family was doing its best to ensure that the traditional rites of passage of their late patriarch and his wife passed off peacefully.

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“Everybody here is aware that my parents are late and will be buried on the 14th of this month. We are doing all we can, humanly possible, to make sure there will be a peaceful burial,” Emmanuel said.

“Be that as it may, some of you are also aware that there has been incessant invasion of the community up until date. The last one happened few days back where soldiers, numbered in hundreds, came into the community and everybody was running helter-skelter.

“There is no war going on in Isiama Afararukwu, it is a very peaceful town, so is Abia State, so is the entire South East. Why this unnecessary invasion? We are asking them to stay clear from us and allow us bury our parents. Make no mistakes, they (parents) died as a direct result of the Operation Python Dance.

“We are saying to the world today, to put them on notice, that they (federal government and its troops) should stay clear of this particular burial. We are here, we do not carry guns, we do not kill, neither have we asked anyone to kill for us.

“We have paid the ultimate price, like we always say it. Everybody who may have died in this struggle, especially my own parents, they have paid the ultimate price and I do know that humanity is watching.

“Please, I am using this opportunity to make it clear to the Nigerian government they should avoid Isiama Afaraukwu in the course of this burial. We assure them that we will carry out a peaceful burial, without problems. That is our stand today,” the younger Kanu concluded.

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He expressed optimism that sympathizers would have access to their palace on February 14. “Everyone is free to come, I don’t think anybody will stop you,” he said while answering a question as to whether people would access the burial venue due the presence of the army in the community.

Contributing, President-General of Isiama Afaraukwu Development Union, Chief Ikechukwu Ndubueze, disclosed that a burial committee was already in place and that no stone was being left unturned to ensure a successful, peaceful burial of the Kanu’s.

“What we are doing is specifically a traditional burial for our late monarch and his wife. It is not all about Isiama Afaraukwu but the entire Afaraukwu as a community has gathered to bury their monarch,” Ndubueze said, adding that it was to their knowledge that some black legs were working against the actualization of their goal.

“We know there are some people who may not actually want this burial to be successful and I still believe that this people are doing everything within their reach to see that they will put up some propaganda aimed at scuttling the burial.

“We are saying that everybody should remain calm because we are very peaceful people and we are doing everything we are doing peacefully. We have tried our best to carry everybody along in the burial plans, including all the security agencies,” he added.

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He blamed carriers of fake news on the social media for being behind the current ordeal of Afaraukwu people by posting unfounded lies about the community.

“We are still aware that most of the things that are still reported in the social media are not true. We are using this opportunity to tell the public that people should mind what they post about the burial or Isiama in the social media in order not to heighten the tension in our community because most of the things they post in the social media are some of the things inviting the army to invade and patrol our place,” he said.

On his own, National President of Ohanaeze Youth Council, Comrade Igboayaka O. Igboyaka, condemned the alleged invasion of the Isiama Afaraukwu community by soldiers, saying that the troops had better been sent to the North where there is insurgency, banditry and kidnapping.

On whether members of IPOB were free to grace the burial, Nudbueze said it was not an IPOB affair as all guests would be appreciated as mourners. “What we have said is that the burial is not an IPOB affair,” he emphasized, adding “everybody that is coming to the burial is coming as a mourner, to mourn with us in this our moment of grief.”

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