The brother of Nnamdi Kanu, the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, Emmanuel, tells Ogbonnaya Ikokwu that in spite of the military attacks launched against the secessionist group, agitation for an independent state of Biafra will continue
What do you do for a living?
I’m a businessman.
What led to the clash between members of the Indigenous people of Biafra and the soldiers deployed to your community?
I don’t know the best way to narrate the story. The truth is that our house for some days has been under the siege of the Nigerian Army. The soldiers have invaded our house on two occasions. They (the army) said it was Operation Python Dance (Egwu Eke) which, of course, does not make any sense to us. This is so because the South-East geopolitical zone has been very peaceful until they invaded the place. That is the simple truth.
Tell us about the whereabouts of your father and brother, Nnamdi Kanu?
We strongly believe that the Nigerian Army whisked them away because since the day the soldiers invaded our house, we have not seen the duo and have not communicated with them. The army is in a better position to answer that question. They invaded our homes and took away many people – both the dead and the living. So, we are expecting them (the soldiers) to tell us their whereabouts. We have been asking questions about their whereabouts; we have yet to get any answer. So, we believe the invading soldiers are the right people to answer the question. They whisked away about 15 of them. They killed two of my cousins as well – they shot them dead in my compound.
They killed 22 people and 15 were injured. The whole thing started on the morning of September 14. First of all, they killed two of our ‘brothers’ in front of Diamond Bank, on Library Avenue, opposite Abia State Government House and took their remains away. After some investigations, we discovered that they took the corpses to a mortuary at Isiala Ngwa Local Government Area and dumped the bodies there. I have photographs to prove that. My community looks like a war zone up till now. People are being harassed and dehumanised by the soldiers every day. The soldiers are still in our community. We are still looking for some of our members in the community. Hopefully, before the end of the week we would have concluded on the number of people missing. If you visit my compound, you will discover that everywhere is covered with blood – even our dog, Jack, was shot dead.
You say your brother and father are missing, have you reported to the police?
Which police? Is it the same institution that sent its personnel to come and kill us or the heavenly police? I have reported to the heavenly police, not to the Nigeria police that we have here.
Before the invasion, was there a time the Nigerian security agencies invited your brother for questioning and he turned it down?
He was never invited by any security agency. They invaded our house. We had no knowledge that they were coming. The first time they came, they were stopped by our people. When they came the second time, we were not aware they were coming. They caught us unawares and they killed many people.
The army has declared IPOB a terrorist organisation. What is your reaction to that?
It is laughable. When a group is unarmed and doesn’t kill and has never asked anyone to kill, why would the government label it a terrorist group? They have the herdsmen who are busy killing people every day; they have not declared them as a terrorist group. They are calling us terrorists. Are they saying the Igbo are terrorists? It doesn’t make sense to me.
The Federal Government said looters of the country’s treasury are the ones funding IPOB. Is that correct?
I expect the Federal Government to be specific when they speak. I don’t understand why the government is keeping people in suspense concerning the looters funding IPOB activities. They were not specific in their claims. They did not identify anybody in particular. So, what they are saying is baseless and it doesn’t make any sense to me.
How is IPOB funded?
In IPOB, we believe in helping one another; that’s our duty.
You said IPOB gets financial support from its members and sympathisers. How much has IPOB received so far?
We are indigenous people and one thing Nnamdi Kanu preaches so much is “love one another” and that’s what we do. Whenever we need help, help comes. IPOB is very rich. That is the way it is.
Does financial support actually come from countries like France, Turkey, Spain, US, UK, Sweden, and other European countries?
This is something I cannot disclose to you. It is the leadership of IPOB that will tell you that. Not me.
What do you think about the group calling on the state government to dethrone your father?
That group is non-existent. You can understand that it is an act of desperation by some faceless people.
Do you think there are saboteurs in IPOB?
I’m not in the position to say that for now because I have not seen any. But, I know in every 12 disciples, there must be a Judas – without the Judas, the number will not be complete. The fact remains that IPOB is non-violent. IPOB is strong; we believe we are indigenous people. The agitation for self-determination will continue. What has happened made us stronger than ever. Freedom is not given by the oppressor; it is seized by the oppressed. As long as what we do is in line with international laws, we will continue with the struggle (for an independent state of Biafra).
It was reported that Nnamdi Kanu was at a point ready for an amicable resolution of the crisis with the FG. Are you aware of that?
I’m aware of the move. The first meeting took place at the Enugu Government House with South-East governors in attendance. Another one was scheduled to hold but while my brother was busy preparing for the meeting, the (Federal) Government was busy planning to assassinate him.
What do you think would have been the outcome of the second meeting if it had taken place?
The meeting was to be about having a common ground where everybody could stand. But that never happened.
Some IPOB members have described the South-East governors as traitors because they are against the realisation of Biafra. Is that your view too?
Yes, that is how I see each and every one of them; they are men without honour and conscience. They are traitors. That is exactly how I see them.
History will remember them for the ignoble roles they played in the entire scenario. They will never run away from nemesis. They will be remembered as men who failed their people in the face of obvious tyranny.
Governor Rochas Okorocha has described Kanu and other IPOB members as hoodlums who are misguided. What do you think about his statement?
Rochas Okorocha is trying to run for the office of the president; that’s the number one thing you should understand. Somebody is writing the script that he is acting for him. From his utterances, you can tell that he is not a Biafran. He is not behaving like an Igbo man. No true, full-blooded Igbo man will speak the way Okorocha speaks. If truly Rochas Okorocha is a Biafran, he wouldn’t be making such comments.
What I am trying to say here is simple; no Biafran can call us (IPOB members) miscreants, nobody except those who are not in touch with reality like Rochas Okorocha. He has never protected the Igbo interest before and I won’t be surprised if he refuses to change.
Do you think that there can be peace in Nigeria without the actualisation of Biafra?
One thing that is certain is that heaven is always on the side of justice. Until there is equity, until there is justice, until freedom is given to the people that deserve it, there won’t be peace.
More than 2,000 automatic rifles were uncovered by the Customs at the Lagos port this week and some people are saying that those weapons were brought in by IPOB. What can you say about that?
We remain a non-arms-carrying group and also a non-violent movement. We do not believe that carrying arms will ever solve any problem. We believe in genuine engagement; that’s what IPOB stands for. The leadership and the entire membership of IPOB are too intelligent to carry arms because we know that violence has never solved any problem, so we don’t believe in violence. This is Nnamdi Kanu’s ideology: we don’t give and we cannot take life. We don’t know anything about the said rifles.
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