Amnesty International (AI) has reported that some soldiers blocked the entrance of the family residence of Nnamdi Kanu, leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), ahead of his parents’ burial tomorrow.
KanyiDaily had reported that Nnamdi Kanu’s father, Eze Okwu Kanu, who is the traditional ruler of Afara Ukwu Umuahia community in Abia State, and his wife, Ugoeze Sally Kanu, will be buried on Friday, February 14, 2020.
In a statement on Wednesday, Amnesty International said several military vehicles including Hilux and SUVs were seen patrolling the community since on Sunday, February 2, 2020.
AI also quoted residents as saying they saw soldiers harassing people at Bank road while another man said he was prevented from going to his house by soldiers who blocked the road entrance to Eze Kanu’s palace.
Osai Ojigho, Amnesty director in Nigeria, called for caution, and asked the security agencies to “deescalate the rising tension” in the Abia community. The statement reads:
“The Nigerian military and the police must deescalate the rising tension in Afara Ukwu, Umuahia in Abia state, south east Nigeria and ensure the protection of human rights of people in the community, ahead of 14 February funeral ceremony of the parents of IPOB leader, Nnamdi Kanu, Amnesty International says today.
“There is reported heavy military presence in Afara Ukwu, a community in Abia state as soldiers patrol the area. The funeral program of IPOB leader Eze Okwu Kanu and his wife who died recently will take place on 14 February. Eyewitnesses told Amnesty International that they saw several military vehicles including Hilux and military SUVs patrolling the community since Sunday 2 February 2020.
“The Nigerian security forces must exercise restraint and prevent a repetition of the September 2017 events that left at least 20 people killed and some still missing, when the military attempted to arrest Nnamdi Kanu in his home in Afara Ukwu, said Osai Ojigho, country Director, Amnesty International.
“While law enforcement officers are within their rights to carry out their lawful duties, the use of force should be proportional and strictly limited to those situations where it is absolutely necessary. Both IPOB supporters and security forces must at all times respect and protect human rights of all.”
“Five people told Amnesty international that they saw soldiers harassing people at Bank road while another man said he was prevented from going to his house by soldiers who blocked the road entrance to Eze Kanu’s palace on 3 February.
“Concerns about possible violence during the funeral must be addressed within the framework of human rights and rule of law,” said Osai Ojigho.
Since the burial was announced, there has been a hot exchange between the police and IPOB, which was banned and declared a terrorist organisation last year.
Nnamdi Kanu had threatened to go after the children of the Abia State police commissioner, Ene Okon, should there be any killings at his parents burial.
This is after CP Ene Okon had threatened to mobilize police to scatter the burial if IPOB members were seen anywhere around the burial venue.
The commissioner also made it clear that police will not spare Nnamdi Kanu if he sets foot in Abia for his parent’s burial or any other thing for that matter because he was declared wanted.