Leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu, has called for protection for the President-General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Prof. George Obiozor, whose residence was recently razed by gunmen and other Igbo nationalists and elder statesmen.
Kanu, who described the attack on the house of the Ohanaeze leader as “cowardly and barbaric”, washed IPOB hand from the action.
According to the IPOB leader, Obiozor has been in the vanguard of “behind-the-scene endeavours, discussions and negotiations, all aimed at exploring the option of a political solution to his incarceration by the Federal Government in the custody of the Department of State Services”.
The leader of IPOB legal team, Ifeanyi Ejiofor, made this known in a statement issued on Tuesday after the routine weekly visit to Kanu in DSS Headquarters in Abuja.
“We visited Onyendu who is in the custody of the DSS, Abuja. Our interaction with him was quite fruitful and ended on a positive note. Our discussion centred on two main things, namely, the frivolous criminal proceedings pending against him at a Federal High Court, Abuja, and the criminal destruction of the country home of Prof. George Obiozor.
“Onyendu remains firm and resolute in his convictions that his present experience is part of the sacrifice he is bound to make for the actualisation of his dream for the emancipation of Umuchineke. He re-affirms the confidence he reposes in the legal team defending him at the Federal High Court, Abuja, ably led by Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN), and prays that the ruling that would be delivered on April 8 2022, on the Notice of Preliminary Objection, would end in his favour.
“Onyendu also took some time to express his anger and grave disapproval of the heinous act of destruction of the country home of the elder statesman and President General of Igbo socio-cultural group, Ohaneze Ndi Igbo, Prof. George Obiozor. He describes the said destruction as cowardly and barbaric and condemns it in very strong terms. He further describes it as uncharitable, noting that the said elder statesman has been in the vanguard of behind-the-scene endeavours, discussions and negotiations, all aimed at exploring and implementing the option of a political solution, as a parallel way of ending the prevailing state of affairs.
“He declares that the perpetrators of the heinous act shall not be forgiven and went ahead to direct that all persons who were in any way involved in committing the dastardly act be fished out forthwith. He reminds Umuchineke to be eternally conscious of several atrocities committed on our land by strangers whose primary objective is to destroy and plunder our land and then turn around to falsely accuse our people. He further notes that Prof. Obiozor has been a commendable ally since his incarceration in June, 2021, and made the point that he is not an enemy of Umuchineke.
“That being so, the elder statesman should be protected and encouraged for speaking up against the several multifaceted ills meted out both to him and to Umuchineke as a whole. He further notes that the elder statesman has been instrumental in the regular presence that members of Ohaneze Ndi Igbo has shown in all the court appearances of Onyendu. This socio-cultural group has steadfastly and consistently made a legal representation in the criminal proceedings pending against Onyendu at a Federal High Court Abuja.
“Onyendu remains appreciative and eternally grateful to that body for this commendable gesture. Further, Onyendu points out that it was at the instance of Prof. George Obiozor that a delegation of Igbo elders, led by a former Governor of Anambra State, His Excellency, Dr. Chukwuemeka Ezeife, consistently showed visible presence in all his appearances in court and has gone ahead on several occasions to attempt to pay him a visit at the DSS Headquarters, which attempts were frustrated by the personnel of DSS.
“Onyendu warns that our elder statesmen should be protected at all times and that the monsters desecrating Igbo land should be fished out wherever they are and severely punished, in order to serve as a deterrent to their ilks. Onyendu further declares that IPOB remains a peaceful, non-violent self-determination group that completely detests and abhors any form of violence.
“He, therefore, urges Umuchineke to continue to be law-abiding and remain focused on the objective of the group. He urges his followers to shun violence and remain peaceful in their agitation for a permanent liberation of Umuchineke from the shackles of bondage and stranglehold of underdevelopment that have held them from attaining their fullest potentials as special creatures of Chukwuokike Abiama.
“Onyendu remains grateful to millions of his teeming fans and supporters for their steadfastness and unwavering resolve to achieve their objective. He urges millions of Umuchineke to come out and contribute efforts in clearing the debris in the burnt country home of Prof. George Obiozor any time he indicates interest in commencing work,” he said.
Meanwhile, Kanu has called for a probe and prosecution of those who tortured him in Kenya.
The IPOB leader made the call in a letter to the Attorney General of the Federation, AGF, Abubakar Malami where he made five demands over his arrest and torture in Kenya.
Kanu was arrested in an African country believed to be Kenya and repatriated in June 2021.
This was due to his agitation for the restoration of Biafra. He fled Nigeria in 2017 after Justice Binta Nyako of an Abuja Federal High Court granted him bail.
His fleeing the country was linked to the invasion of his country home by security agents, fearing his life was in grave danger.
However, the IPOB leader disclosed that he was tortured and subjected to inhumane treatment after his arrest in Kenya.
To this end, the IPOB leader urged Malami to investigate and prosecute all those involved in his torture, in line with the provisions of the Anti-Torture Act of 2017.
In a letter to Malami, Kanu said all those who tortured him during his arrest in Kenya and detention in Nigeria should be punished.
He made the call in a letter signed by his Special Counsel, Aloy Ejimakor, detailing how he was arrested and tortured in Kenya and Nigeria.
Kanu also urged the AGF to ensure his protection while in the custody of the Department of State Services, DSS.
Parts of the letter read: “In view of the forgoing, we hereby make the following Prayers: That, consistent with the provisions of the Anti-Torture Act, 2017, the office of the Attorney-General take prompt measures to initiate the prosecution of all persons that were directly or indirectly culpable in the torture of our Client. For your ease of reference, Section 5 of the Anti Torture Act provides that: “A person who has suffered or alleges that he has been subjected to torture shall have the right to complain to and to have his case promptly and impartially examined by a competent authority.
“The competent authority under subsection (1) shall take steps to ensure that the complainant is protected against all ill-treatment or intimidation as a consequence of his complaint or any given evidence.
“That the said prosecutorial action be levied, in line with Section 8 of the Anti Torture Act, which provides that ‘A person who actually participates in the infliction of torture or who is present during the commission of the act is liable as the principal.’
“An order from a superior officer or from a superior in the office or public authority shall not be invoked as a justification for torture.
“The immediate commanding officer of the unit concerned of the security or law enforcement agencies is held liable as an accessory to the crime for any act or omission or negligence on his part that may have led to the commission of torture by his subordinates.
“In conclusion, we call your attention to the provisions of Section 1 of the Anti Torture Act, which states that ‘The Government shall—(a) ensure that the rights of all persons, including suspects, detainees and prisoners are respected at all times and that no person placed under investigation or held in the custody of any person in authority shall be subjected to physical harm, force, violence, threat or intimidation or any act that impairs his free will: and (b) fully adhere to the principles and standards on the absolute condemnation and prohibition of torture set by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and various international instruments to which Nigeria is a State party’”.