| Published Thursday, 11 October 2018 | 18:30 CET

Okezie Ikpeazu warned not play politics with Kanu's family whereabout


Abia State Governor, Okezie Ikpeazu

The family of the missing Leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu has cautioned Gov. Okezie Ikpeazu not to play politics with the whereabouts of their father and the traditional ruler of Isiama-Afaraukwu autonomous community, HRM Eze Israel Kanu.

The warning is coming on heels of a comment credited to Ikpeazu when some people from the community paid him courtesy visit at the Government House Umuahia.

Ikpeazu had reportedly told his guests that the state Government was making efforts in collaboration with other South East Governors to ensure that the monarch is re-united with his subjects soon.
He also said that contrary to a misconception in some quarters, he had no hands in the military invasion of the community during the Operation Python Dance ll.

The whereabouts of Eze Kanu, his wife Lolo Sally, and son, Nnamdi Kanu has remained unknown since after the September 14, 2017 military raid on his palace that also claimed scores of IPOB members and Biafra agitators.
In a swift reaction to the Governor’s comments, Spokesman of the family and Kanu’s youngest brother, Prince Emmanuel Kanu told Ikpeazu to “look for better ways of entertaining his guests and not use Kanu as a campaign slogan for his re-election bid”

He cautioned Ikpeazu to be mindful of his utterances concerning the whereabouts of the monarch and other family members yet to be sighted since after the military raid on the palace last year.
The family Spokesman wondered why “the Governor who has not thought it wise to visit the family since one year our father, mother and brother got disappeared suddenly made their matter a campaign tool’.
He said Ikpeazu should leave the Kanu family out of his second term project, and dismissed the Governor’s comment as an afterthought.
Prince Kanu said no amount of hypocrisy would exonerate Ikpeazu and his South East counterparts from culpability over the invitation of the military for a Python Dance Operation in the zone last year. “Ikpeazu should not think we can be easily deceived by hiring supporters from our community to visit him in Government House and making flowery comments about our family”.

According to him, “the prevailing hunger in the land had made it easy to recruit people to sing ones praises for peanuts”
Prince Kanu who claimed the Governor mobilized the visitors with N2 million blamed their action on hunger and poverty.

He wondered why the Governor would be promising to collaborate with his South East counterparts to help locate the missing monarch only few months to election year.
Kanu’s brother said anybody who participated in the said visit was part of the conspiracy that led to the military invasion of the community, adding that “the blood of all the victims of the raid is upon them”

Meanwhile, the Traditional Prime Minister of the community, Chief Odoemelam Chimechefulam, has dissociated himself from the visit by some members of the community to Gov. Ikpeazu.
He said that those who visited the Governor did so in their personal capacity and never had the mandate of the community to embark on the journey.

He said that he heard that a group of people was being mobilized to visit the Governor but decided not to join them because the community was still in mournful mood following the disappearance of their Traditional Ruler, since after the military raid of his palace.

Chimechefulam said he found it strange and a grievous sin against the land to visit the Governor who is yet to identify with the community over their missing traditional ruler one year after.

He said Isiama-Afaraukwu community “is the land lord” of the Abia seat of power, and deserves Government sympathy and consolation over the ordeal.

His words: “When I heard some people mobilizing to visit the Governor I said I won’t be part of it. Why will I go to wine and dine with him when I have not seen my traditional ruler more than one year the community was invaded by the Army?

“Our community is the landlord of the Government House but the Governor has never visited us over our woes.
“We have been in pains since after the military invaded us last year. All the houses near Eze Kanu’s palace now have leaky roofs because of the army bullets that rained on them like water.

“Since then neither the Governor nor the Federal Government has visited us to know how we are faring. We are victims of the military raid.
“So, what is the essence of the visit? Those who went to see him were on their own. Don’t forget that this is a political season and individuals have the right to express themselves.”

In the same vein, the President General of the community, Chief Ikechukwu Ndubueze dismissed the visit and all that transpired in it as “PDP affair”

Ndubueze who also dissociated himself from the visit said “what happened was that members of the Peoples Democratic Party in the community went to see the Governor who is their party man”
He said they never had the authorization of the community on the visit and that “whatever they told the Governor was purely their party affair”.
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