12 September 2017

Nigeria: Army 'Places Nnamdi Kanu Under House Arrest' - Lawyer

Photo: Vanguard
Nnamdi Kanu

The Nigerian Army has again laid siege to the residence of the leader of Indigenous People of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu, in Abia State, his lawyer has claimed.

In a statement on Tuesday, Mr. Kanu's lawyer, Ifeanyi Ejiofor, accused the Nigerian government of placing the separatist agitator under house arrest.

He added that at least four IPOB members had been killed in the area.

However, the police spokesperson in the state, Geoffrey Ogbonna, denied the claim.

He said the Army was only on its routine patrol and passed through the area.

"They have moved on now to other parts of the city. I have been to that area, they were on their normal ongoing show of force. I don't think they tried to break into the building," Mr. Ogbonna said.

According to Mr. Ejiofor: "Just to notify the world that my client's (Nnamdi Kanu) house is presently under siege by the trigger-happy soldiers acting under the direct instruction of Chief of Army Staff.

"He has been placed under house arrest at the moment while shooting sporadically into the air.

"Casualties are being counted as the unprovoked assault progresses. Some IPOB members have just been killed at least four people.

"They drove in in their thousands to arrest and maim him. I just got a distress call from him now. Further efforts to establish contact with him have remained unsuccessful.

"As it stands now, I can't confirm whether he is dead or alive."

Mr. Ejiofor said the Operation Python Dance presently launched by the Buhari-led administration in the South East was principally targeted at eliminating my client.

"It is yielding the desired result to the presidency, having launched a manhunt for my client and unarmed members if Indigenous People of Biafra," he said.

"Let the world know that the federal government has practically abandoned their case in court in search of a brute route to eliminate my client.

"As I type this statement, his residence has been cordoned off by the military, majority of whom are of Fulani extraction.

"The world should hold Buhari-led Federal Government responsible if anything untoward happens to Nnamdi Kanu. The situation is very tense at the moment," the statement said.

Mr. Ejiofor had earlier accused the military of killing over 20 IPOB members on Sunday, but the army dismissed the allegation as baseless and mischievous.

Governors of states in the South East region they have commenced investigation into the allegations traded between Mr. Kanu's lawyer and the military on Sunday.

On Friday, the Nigerian Army had launched Operation Ogbu Eke II, which it said would be seen around the South East region between September 15 and October 14.

The army said the military operation, also known as Operation Python Dance II, is to check criminal agitators and other forms of criminal activities.

But the Igbo socio-cultural group, Ohaneze Ndigbo, has demanded the withdrawal of the troops from the region, saying their presence would raise the level of tension it said already exists in the country.

Meanwhile, a constitutional lawyer and Chairman of The Patriots, Ben Nwabueze, has condemned the alleged invasion of Mr. Kanu's by the army, describing it as "a matter of grave concern."

In a statement sent to PREMIUM TIMES, Mr. Nwabueze, a former Secretary (Minister) for Education, said the situation in the country called for great restraint on the part of all.

The statement said, "The report in this morning newspapers of the attack on Mazi Nnamdi Kanu's Umuahia home by soldiers of the Nigerian army during which some people were reportedly killed or injured is a matter of grave concern, because it occurred at a time the country is facing destabilizing crisis and threats to its peaceful co-existence and at a time the South East Governors are making valiant efforts to contain the danger of the repercussions of the crisis by interventions with Mazi Nnamdi Kanu and the IPOB.

"The situation in the country calls for great restraint on the part of all, and for the Federal Government to take firm steps to restrain any actions capable of escalating the crisis, such as the reported attack on the home of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu's home in Umuahia."

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