Mr. Ifeanyi Ejiofor, head of the legal team for the leader of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu, on Sunday, described a former governor of Abia State, Orji Uzor Kalu, as a drowning man desperately in search of relevance from the Federal Government and relief from prosecution on corruption charges.
Ejiofor, in a statement sent to one of our correspondents, was reacting to an interview granted our source by Kalu, where he claimed that Kanu was not arrested by the military and that the IPOB leader had since escaped to the United Kingdom through Malaysia.
Kalu, in the interview, stated that Kanu had left the country for the UK on his own.
The ex-governor had said, “Kanu was not taken away by the military. Kanu went to Malaysia from where he travelled to the United Kingdom.
“Nnamdi Kanu is in London right now as we speak. He was not arrested by anybody. He left the country on his own.
“One of his relations has spoken to me and explained everything because I wanted to see him and talk to him wherever he was and see how I could meet some Federal Government officials on his issue.
“I also wanted to see ways of talking to the President about him, and find common ground but his family told me that he has left the country, unless they are lying to me.
“I believe, whether he had left the country or not, he is not with the military because I asked the Commander of the 14 Brigade, Brig. Gen. A. K. Ibrahim, who is a very fine and good soldier, well educated and dedicated, and he told me that they don’t know his whereabouts and I am sure, the Department of State Services has the same information.”
Ejiofor, on Sunday said the former governor had turned himself to the spokesperson for the Federal Government and the military as part of his strategies to get freed from his (Kalu’s) ongoing trial on corruption charges.
He added, “Orji Uzof Kalu is a drowning man, looking for where to perch.
“He has since outlived his usefulness in Igboland. What do you expect from a man who is enjoying a temporary freedom and struggling to get his head out of grievous corruption charges hanging on his neck?
“He saw Nnamdi Kanu’s travail as an opportunity to seek relevance from the prosecuting authorities.
“At some time, he attempted deceiving the state into believing that he had the magic wand to Nnamdi Kanu’s peaceful agitation.”
He questioned if the former governor was part of the soldiers who allegedly invaded Kanu’s home to arrive at the conclusion that the IPOB leader was not arrested by the military.
Ejiofor challenged Kalu, if he was sure of his claim, to join the suit recently filed to seek an order of court to direct the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai, to produce Kanu.
The lawyer said, “Now, he has turned into government/military spokesperson.
“Please ask that confused man if he was in the company with the rampaging soldiers at the time of their murderous invasion of my client’s home?”
Kalu’s claims spurious, ploy to avoid prosecution –IPOB
In its reaction on Sunday, IPOB described as ‘spurious’ claims by Kalu that its leader, Kanu, had escaped to London.
Reacting through its spokesman, Emma Powerful, IPOB said Kalu was merely engaged in desperate efforts to extricate himself from his ongoing corruption trial.
“His (Kalu’s) spurious claim that the overall leader of IPOB, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, has made his way to London via Malaysia, is a confirmation that he would do or say anything to escape his ongoing corruption scandal.
“Worse still, he might be a hapless victim of a well orchestrated blackmail by his Hausa/Fulani Islamic masters or on hallucinogenic drugs,” Powerful said in a statement which was made available to one of our correspondents.
The pro-Biafran group accused Kalu and his likes of selling the collective interest of the Igbo, “and by extension, that of Biafra”.
“It didn’t start today but their era is coming to an end,” the group added.
IPOB described Igbo leaders, who were opposed to the agitation for Biafra, as Hausa/Fulani errand boys.
Declaring that Kalu’s claims were false, the IPOB spokesman said, “Both the United Kingdom and Malaysia are civilised countries and not as corrupt as Nigeria, where there is no accurate record of migration in and out of the country.
‘‘What Orji Uzor Kalu is saying in essence is that the United Kingdom government officials are lying when they rightfully demanded the whereabouts of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu.
“For the information of those who may have fallen for the barefaced lies of Orji Uzor Kalu, United Kingdom is an island and near impossible to enter without being documented.
“If our leader is in the UK, their government will not bother demanding that he be produced by the Buhari regime.”
Foreign permission not needed to declare a body terrorist group – FG
Meanwhile, the Federal Government says Nigeria does not need the permission of any nation before declaring anyone or organisation a terrorist group.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said this during an interview with our source on Sunday.
Mohammed said Nigeria had never questioned the decisions of any country regarding the running of its internal affairs.
He said when many countries of the world declared their own citizens terrorists, Nigeria never interfered, out of respect for their sovereignty and integrity.
Mohammed stated, “Nigeria is a sovereign country and it does not require the permission of any other country to declare any person or organisation a terrorist just as those countries don’t need the permission of Nigeria to declare any organisation a terrorist one.”
The United States had, last week, said it did not consider IPOB a terrorist organisation.
The Federal High Court in Abuja had, on September 20, ruled that IPOB was a terrorist organisation while it also banned its activities in Nigeria.
But the spokesman for the American Embassy in Nigeria, Russell Brooks, said the US government did not view IPOB as a terrorist group.
Brooks stated, “Within the context of unity, we encourage all Nigerians to support a de-escalation of tensions and peaceful resolution of grievances. The Indigenous People of Biafra is not a terrorist organisation under US law.”
Dead or alive, Kanu is a Biafran hero, states MASSOB
In a similar development, the Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra has described the IPOB leader a true Biafran hero, dead or alive.
Currently, there is confusion over Kanu’s whereabouts.
“Mazi Nnamdi Kanu is a true hero of Biafra, whether dead or alive,” MASSOB leader, Uchenna Madu, said in a statement on Sunday.
Madu noted that Kanu did not pose any danger to Nigeria despite championing the agitation for Biafra.
He added, “He (Kanu) is a determined young man destined for the actualisation and restoration of Biafra.
“Mazi Nnamdi Kanu does not pose any danger to Nigeria’s existence – the problem that poses danger to Nigeria’s existence is Hausa/Fulani domination over the general interest of other ethnic nationalities.”
The MASSOB leader vowed that no amount of intimidation, including the ongoing Operation Python Dance, could stop the struggle for the actualisation of Biafra.
The statement added, “As freedom can never be achieved on a platter of gold, the Biafra revolutionary struggle for the actualisation and restoration can never be a child’s play.
“We shall never relent because of Operation Python Dance. How much will they react if their provocation forced the non-violent Biafran agitators into an armed struggle?”
IPOB leader, a misguided element, says Ahmadu Bello’s grandson
Also, Alhaji Hassan Danbaba, the grandson of the late Premier of the northern region, Sir Ahmadu Bello, has labelled Kanu a ‘coward’ for reportedly fleeing Nigeria to London.
Speaking on the sidelines’ of Nigeria’s 57th Independence anniversary, Danbaba, the Magajin Gari Sokoto, said, “I find it difficult to understand what Nnamdi Kalu wants, bearing in mind the outcome of the secession attempt that led us into civil war.”
He described Kanu as a misguided element, who thought he could return home to set Nigeria on fire, and take to his heels as he had allegedly done now.
Danbaba added, “Honestly, if I were President (Muhammadu) Buhari, he wouldn’t have the luxury of time he had in generating tension, caused untimely death of some before I descend on him.
“Where is the coward who was threatening that anyone, who comes to arrest him, will not leave Igbo land alive?”
He advised Buhari to deal decisively with anyone or group who would want to plunge the nation into another civil war.
Also, the General Overseer, Revival Chapel Worldwide, Bishop Charles Yohanna, has condemned the secessionist agitation by IPOB, calling on the group to be specific on what it wants.
He stated this in an interview with newsmen on Sunday at a special service to mark Nigeria’s 57th Independence Day at the church headquarters in Bauchi.
He wondered why some people would demand another country in a country.
Yohanna stated, “Many of us lack the spirit of patriotism from the beginning. Many of our religious leaders were not told to respect the ideals of the nation when they were growing up.
“Someone, who grew up in the woods and then coming to limelight without knowing what it has taken us to build this nation, will talk about dividing the nation.
“Biafra project is not from the heart of the men that are pursuing it. If they are looking for something, they should call the thing by its name.
“What you are looking for is justice, fairness, fair share; is that not what you’re looking for? Why not table it and we have a democratic organ available,” he stated.