The burial of the parents of the leader of Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu comes up next week, precisely February 14. Already, tension is mounting in Afaraukwu, Umuahia, the country home of the Kanu’s. In this interview with OKEY SAMPSON in Umuahia, the spokesman of the family, Prince Emmanuel Kanu said they are not preparing for war as security agencies would want the world to know. He called on the Federal Government to allow them bury their parents in peace.
In Igbo land, many burials particularly of the elderly take place at month ends, why did you choose February 14 (Lovers Day) for your parents’ burial?
We call their death the glorious union exit, that’s why we chose February 14, it will be a day of remembrance for us; they both loved themselves so much while they were alive that no other date could have been better. So, that day is very significant to us in so many ways, you know it is Lovers Day and they were epitome of love while they lived here on planet earth.
What’s the family’s role that day going to be like?
It’s not our family’s burial but that of Afaraukwu community because my father was the monarch of the place, so, the burial is going to be handled by Afaraukwu people.
IPOB insists they must be part of the burial ceremonies while police is vehemently against that. What is the family doing to douse this tension?
I don’t know whether it is out of ignorance or what, why are they mixing up these two things together? We are trying to bury our parents who lost their lives as a direct result of Operation Python Dance, now, the best thing we can do for them is to lower them in peace, give them the last honour and that’s what we are trying to do.
We have nothing to do with IPOB or so to speak, this is our tradition and we have to observe it. Even bringing IPOB in the wider picture, what has IPOB got to do with this, they are not troublesome people, they are not violent people. How would they even identify an IPOB member in the first place? Is the Commissioner of Police not an IPOB member? He is an indigenous person as well.
They should know that this is not an IPOB thing, we are talking about burial here, and all we are trying to do is to lower our parents. I can’t understand this, whoever that is coming should be seen as someone who is mourning. When the police talk about people wearing Biafra uniform and putting on IPOB insignia, the question is, are we doing agitation? The answer is no. So, when you are coming for burial you wear Biafra uniform? Is that their thought? It’s not making any sense to us, they are creating tension for themselves. They should allow us do what we want to do and see if there will be problem in Abia State. I can’t be burying my parents and at the same time looking for trouble, it does not make any sense. If the Commissioner of Police likes, he can come for the burial after all I am his landlord. Yes, apart from him being an indigenous person, I’m the landlord of CP Ene Okon here in Umuahia, he lives about two minutes away from me, I’m his landlord. I’m even considering sending official invitation to him to come and witness the burial after all as a Biafran he is, he was supposed to have been in the palace long before now.
What type of burial are we expecting?
It’s going to be wonderful; a lot of people are going to come from far and near to see things for themselves. We are going to have our cultural dances; in fact, we will use the burial to showcase the culture of Afaraukwu people.
What word do you have for people coming for the burial?
I would like to assure all coming that the burial would be done in the most peaceful manner. We won’t allow any noise maker in this place, we will not allow miscreants around the venue of the burial and we will not allow anybody to use the burial to cause problem for us, we are going to checkmate all these things.
I have a word for the Federal Government, they should allow us bury our parents in peace. Why are soldiers parading our community intermittently, who are they looking for? A community that is mourning, what are you coming there to look for? The soldiers parading Afaraukwu should be drafted to the North East where their services are needed.