- Governor Dave Umahi of Ebonyi state says Nnamdi Kanu, leader of IPOB, will not be abandoned
- Umahi says Kanu needs to rebrand to be able to enter into dialogue with the authorities
- He further acknowledges that President Muhammadu Buhari has the ultimate power concerning the group
Days after proscribing the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), governors from the southeast have said they would not abandon Nnamdi Kanu, the leader of the group.
The governors said with the proscription as well as the tagging of IPOB as a terrorist organisation, one of the options available to Kanu and the group is to rebrand before entering into any negotiation or dialogue with the authorities.
The Sun quoted Dave Umahi, governor of Ebonyi state, as saying: “Our situation is different from Boko Haram situation. But if anybody believes that we will abandon those boys, it is not true.
“We will still be appealing to them to come back to their leaders, let us sit down and discuss. Kanu somehow raised awareness on this restructuring issue. We must give it to him.
“We are not going to throw him away; we will still find a way; we will be appealing to the federal government for forgiveness.
“The word, IPOB, is not in agreement with me because when you say the Indigenous People of Biafra, it has its own connotation.
“When you say indigenous, if you go to America you talk about the indigenous people of America and that is the Red Indies that founded America.
“There is no indigenous in this sense. It could be Igbo Youth Movement or association and so on and so forth. So having proscribed that and their activities, of course the federal government says it’s a terror group; we cannot dialogue with them under that name again.
“They’re our brothers and sisters and it’s a question of getting them to a better level of understanding and partnership.”
Concerning what should happen to persons caught wearing the Biafran insignia, Umahi said: “Well, there are two issues here. One is that we have appealed to Mr President to withdraw the soldiers in the southeast region at least for now for temper to cool.
“I am not the Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces; it’s Mr President who is. It is an appeal that we have made to him. It is his constitutional powers and rights.
“So, I cannot say for certain that Operation Python Dance will not commence in Ebonyi state. I don’t have such powers.
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“But if Mr President views it that in his own opinion that he wants to heed to our appeal, that is good. But specifically in Ebonyi state, we are appealing that everybody should be law-abiding.
“There’s no nation inside a nation. Even if you want Biafra, you have to get it first; become a nation before you start putting up your flag, owning your own secret service and so on and so forth,” he said.
NAIJ.com earlier reported how Emmanuel, the younger brother to Nnamdi Kanu, called on the military authorities to release the corpse of the leader of the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) if he has been killed.
Emmanuel made the call on Tuesday, September 26, when speaking on the continued disappearance of the IPOB leader following a raid by the military on their residence in Abia state on September 14.
Watch this video of the confession of a former Biafran soldier: