ENIOLA AKINKUOTU, ADE ADESOMOJU, Ihuoma Chiedozie, OLALEYE ALUKO and OGBONNAYA IKOKWU
The Defence Headquarters, Abuja, said on Saturday that the military would conduct another round of Operation Python Dance in the South-East, since there were clearer indications that the founder of the Indigenous People of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu, has resurfaced from his hideout.
The military authorities also said the court would take necessary steps to continue his prosecution.
The Director of Defence Information, Brig. Gen John Agim, who stated this in an interview with SUNDAY PUNCH on Saturday, added that the sudden appearance of Kanu in public, has proved that the military did not manhandle or assault him as was being widely alleged.
Agim said the conduct of Python Dance in the South-East region was necessary to combat any form of kidnapping and armed robbery as the end of the year neared.
The Defence spokesperson added that the military would launch a fresh operation in the region this year to ensure peace.
He said, “Our responsibility is to ensure that there is peace and security in the South-East region and that is the essence of Operation Python Dance.
“We are going to have another operation this year. It is to ensure that we don’t allow what happens in the North-East to happen again.
“We are having multiple operations. The court will now know the true situation of things. We said at that time that Kanu ran away, but people said the military kept him in custody. It was propaganda.”
IPOB leader ‘ll make live broadcast today – Lawyer
Meanwhile, a lawyer, Mr. Ifeanyi Ejiofor, who heads the legal team of the IPOB leader, said on Saturday that he had spoken with his client after a video clip of Kanu, praying in Jerusalem, surfaced on the Internet on Friday.
Ejiofor, in a statement on Saturday, confirmed that Kanu would address the public in a world press broadcast to be beamed live on Sunday (today) to narrate “the shocking tale of how he made it alive”.
This came ahead of the November 14 scheduled for hearing in Kanu’s trial before the Federal High Court in Abuja.
Senator Eyinnaya Abaribe and others, who stood bail sureties for the IPOB leader in April last year, will also return to the court presided by Justice Binta Nyako.
They are expected to show cause why they should not be made to lose their N100m bail bonds which they entered into to secure Kanu’s bail, if they are unable to produce the IPOB leader.
Also, a former governor of Abia State, Orji Kalu, whom Ejiofor had been made to be summoned by the court for insisting that Kanu had escaped to London, is also expected in court at the next hearing date.
Kanu was being prosecuted by the Federal Government before the Federal High Court in Abuja before he became missing since September 14, 2017, following a military invasion of his home in Afara-Ukwu in Umuahia, Abia State.
IPOB had, through a statement by its Media and Publicity Secretary, Emma Powerful, confirmed on Friday that the person seen in the video was its leader at the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem, where he joined other faithful to offer prayers.
The lawyer said as a direct confirmation of the development, he heard from Kanu on Saturday after 13 months of being missing.
He said he initially dismissed the video which emerged on the Internet about Thursday or Friday until his efforts to verify it yielded a positive result.
He said, “Only, this morning, I received a direct confirmation from my client, hearing once from him after 13 months in captivity.
“Furthermore, the shocking tale of how he made it alive once again will be made public in his scheduled world press broadcast to be beamed live within the next 24 hours.
“The general public and indeed the world is advised to keep a date with this broadcast.
“The world will now hear from the horse’s mouth, the gory accounts of what happened in my client’s home on the 14th day of September 2017, only tomorrow (Sunday).”
It’s a welcome development, says Ohanaeze
Reacting to Nnamdi Kanu’s re-emergence, Ohanaeze Ndigbo described the development as ‘welcome’.
National Publicity Secretary of Ohanaeze, Prince Uche Achi-Okpaga, who spoke with one of our correspondents in Enugu, said, “The news of his appearance is welcome to us. Now we know that he is alive and well; we give thanks to God.”
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But Achi-Okpaga added that the development had also shown that Ohanaeze was innocent of IPOB’s claim that it connived with the Federal Government to kill Kanu during Operation Python Dance 2.
He said, “This has also shown that Ohanaeze was innocent of the accusations by IPOB – they said we connived with the Federal Government to kill Kanu during Operation Python Dance, which of course is not true, as Ohanaeze even condemned the military campaign then and has continued to do so.
“Ohanaeze is not in support of any form of military deployment against IPOB and other agitators in the South-East and it is quite unfortunate that IPOB will accuse Ohanaeze of being a party to such.
“IPOB and the other pro-Biafran agitators are our children; we will never get tired of saying this.”
Meanwhile, a former Minister of Aviation, Chief Femi Fani-Kayode, also said on Saturday that Kanu spoke to him on the telephone promising to join forces with the Peoples Democratic Party to defeat President Muhammadu Buhari next year.
Fani-Kayode said this in a terse message sent to one of our correspondents on Saturday.
He said, “I just received a call from my brother, Nnamdi Kanu. I am delighted that he is alive and well. I commend his strength and courage even as I marvel at the loyalty, resilience and commitment of his lawyer, Ifeanyi Ejiofor, and IPOB. We have agreed to work together to vote Buhari out.”
We want Kanu’s parents back – Kinsmen
Also, 24 hours after the missing leader of the IPOB was reportedly seen in an online video in Israel, members of his community have said they want his parents back.
The whereabouts of Kanu’s father, Eze Israel Kanu, and mother, Sally, remained a mystery since September 14, 2017. when soldiers reportedly invaded their residence in Isiama- Afaraukwu Umuahia.
Governor Okezie Ikpeazu promised a delegation of Afaraukwu Ibeku community that paid him a courtesy visit last week that he was going to liaise with his fellow South-East governors to engage the Federal Government to locate and bring back the missing royal father before December.
But the people of Afaraukwu in a statement on Saturday said they were not happy that some politicians in the state were trying to play politics with the promise made by the governor to return their traditional ruler to his palace.
The President-General of Afaraukwu Development Union, Chief Emeka Ezebuiro, in the statement, said the entire Afaraukwu community, wanted their monarch back to his palace.