The government of the United Kingdom has asked the Federal Government of Nigeria to state the whereabouts of British-Nigerian man and leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu, saying “We are seeking urgent clarification from the Nigerian authorities about the status and whereabouts of Mr. Kanu, a British-Nigerian man, who has been reported missing since September 14,” on Thursday.
This came as the Defence Headquarters, Friday, declared that it does not know the whereabouts of IPOB leaders Nnamdi Kanu and asked citizens not to panic over hitherto October 1st deadline given the Igbo by a group of Northern youths to vacate the region, saying the threat was no longer effective. The DHQ which said contrary to some reports, it did not raid the IPOB leader’s home, said it was not the place of the military to declare Kanu wanted. The DHQ equally explained that it was constrained to move a special military operations against the dreaded herdsmen because they were neither visible nor carry out their activities under an open or known group.
Director of Defence Information, Major General John Enenche, who addressed the media at the Defence Headquarters, denied that Nnamdi Kanu was in military custody.
The United Kingdom Press Officer, to the high commission in Nigeria, Joe Abuku, stated that the inquiry followed reports that Kanu had been missing since September 14, 2017 when armed soldiers stormed his residence in Abia State. Abuku said this in response to questions from Saturday PUNCH seeking to know UK’s concern on the missing IPOB leader.
“We are seeking urgent clarification from the Nigerian authorities about the status and whereabouts of Mr. Kanu, a British-Nigerian man, who has been reported missing since September 14,” Abuku stated in an email on Thursday.
On stripping of Nnamdi Kanu’s citizenship Abuku said: “One of the conditions that can make the United Kingdom strip its citizen of nationality is if the person engages in a terrorist activity at home or abroad. And Kanu has dual citizenship and therefore a citizen of Nigeria and the UK,”
He also said: “The Indigenous People of Biafra is not a proscribed organisation in the UK,” the mission spokesperson stressed.
Abuku also said, “We do not routinely comment on whether an organisation is or is not under consideration for proscription. A decision to proscribe an organisation must be based on a belief that it is concerned in terrorism as defined in the Terrorism Act 2000, and it must be proportionate.”
But the Director of Defence Information, Major General John Enenche, who addressed the media at the Defence Headquarters, on Friday, denied that Nnamdi Kanu was in military custody.
” Nnamdi Kanu is not in the custody of the military, “he declared. “The military did not proscribe IPOB. Due process was followed to proscribe it. The job of the military was to diagnose security issues and warned the public of consequences and that is part of our media operations.
“We did our media operations very well, otherwise that weekend would have been the longest weekend in this country and we are also very careful choosing our words and we know the law very well, “he added.
He also denied that the military troops on Operation Python Dance raided Kanu’s home.
“Nobody raided Kanu’s home and I stand to be justified, not from the information I got. ‘I was watching it live, I was monitoring it live and also speaking with them on the ground. “The people that came out there that I saw were the Biafra security service and Biafra National Guard.” I think I later confirmed that there was nothing to actually justify them legally to mount roadblocks. I saw the militancy, nobody told me and I saw the action there. We are still investigating.” He spoke on the post military operations in the South East thus:
”For the past couple of days since the operation started, the feedback I have been getting from that place is that yes, they are happy. “Some of them were actually afraid even before the operation started not from our troops but from the people that we actually getting them fighting, people that are actually intimidating them. But now, they have a lot of relief.
“We have our sources of information as information outfits of the armed forces. We also get information from the general public using our own sources as a form of checks and balances.”
Enenche said the country was not militarized contrary to the position of some people.
“Other countries passed through this, if you go into history, before getting to where they are as developed countries today. “Like in China, you see one policeman inside a car, you hardly see a military man outside and it depends on the developmental process and what you passed through.
“That’s why in simple terms, I will tell you that we are not alarmed at all. “For example, the last terrorist attack in the UK, 24 hours after the attack, the government asked the military to take over the area.
” If the UK government can tell the military to take over, to back up the Police, I think we are just about 100 years old of amalgamation and we about 57 years old, it’s not out of place, “he stressed. He expressed disappointment over the position of some legal practitioners on military involvement in the IPOB issue just as he said some of them got it right in his assessment of various contributions to the issue.
“Of course, there will be competing demands on who is to do what by the military, the executive, the legislature they are all arms of the government and they all have responsibilities,”he said. ”The statement that came through me is not at par at all with what the Chief of Army Staff came out to clarify.