…Umahi’s aide mute on Kanu, says security outfit functional
Civil rights advocacy group, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria, has tackled South-East governors for their alleged “conspiratorial silence” over the ordeal of the detained leader of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu.
National Coordinator of HURIWA, Emmanuel Onwubiko, in a statement on Monday, also alleged that the governors in the zone abandoned a joint security vigilante named Ebube Agu inaugurated in April.
The security outfit had been set up by the five governors in the zone — Okezie Ikpeazu (Abia), Willie Obiano (Anambra), Dave Umahi (Ebonyi), Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi (Enugu), and Hope Uzodinma (Imo).
Reacting to the claim by HURIWA, Francis Nwaze, a media aide to the Chairman of the South-East Governors’ Forum, Dave Umahi, told The PUNCH in a telephone interview on Monday that Ebube Agu has been functional in the zone.
Nwaze, however, did not respond to the allegation of the abandonment of Kanu, who has been in the custody of the Department of State Services since the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN), announced on June 29, 2021, that the IPOB leader was arrested in a foreign country and extradited to Nigeria.
Kanu, who was born on September 25, 1967, is from Abia State. He had earlier jumped bail in June 2018 before leaving for the United Kingdom though he said that he fled because his life was no longer safe in Nigeria.
Upon his re-arrest and extradition in June 2021, he was re-arraigned before Justice Binta Nyako for terrorism-related charges and has since been remanded in the custody of the Department of State Services in Abuja. Kanu’s trial has been adjourned till October 21, 2021.
IPOB and its military wing, the Eastern Security Network, had since declared a sit-at-home order in the zone every Monday to protest Kanu’s detention.
Blaming South-East Governors for allegedly not speaking up for Kanu, HURIWA said, “It is a total act of betrayal that the governors of the South-East maintained conspiratorial silence amidst allegations that President Muhammadu Buhari abducted Mazi Nnamdi Kanu from Kenya, subjected him to indignities in an illegal rendition and then forcefully repatriated him to Nigeria against norms of International law.
“It is wicked that the South-East governors took no action to ascertain the veracity of the allegation of illegal abduction of a prominent Igbo son even if the governors are not in agreement just like most of us are with the advocacy for self-determination in the South East of Nigeria.”
HURIWA also said though the governors in the zone had pledged to fight insecurity when they inaugurated Ebube Agu in April, nothing has happened to the outfit since its Chairman, Major General Obi Umahi (retd.), resigned his appointment in June over lack of funding, amongst other reasons.
When contacted, Umahi’s Special Assistant on Media, Francis Nwaze, told The PUNCH that the security outfit has been functional in the state and in the South-East.
“Ebube Agu is very functional in Ebonyi State and in other places in the South-East. They have even given legal backing to it,” Nwaze said.
He was, however, mute on the travails of Kanu.