Kanu parents’ funeral strictly family affair – Ndubueze
By Joe Akwarandu, Umuahia
The people of Isiama Afaraukwu community have urged the federal government to withdraw its troops stationed in the community to give them the opportunity and create the congenial atmosphere needed to bury their departed monarch, Eze Israel Kanu and his wife, Ugoeze Sally Kanu, a befitting burial next week Friday, February 14.
Jointly briefing newsmen in Umuahia, the family, the Afaraukwu community and the Ohanaeze Youth Council said they were expecting a peaceful outing.
Both Eze Kanu and his wife died last year, in December and August, respectively under circumstances his family claimed were due to shock resulting from the army’s invasion of their home in the September 14, 2017 Operation Python Dance II in Umuahia.
At the briefing, the parties expressed apprehension over the conspicuous deployment of soldiers in the community which, they said, was generating tension and creating fear among the people and the public. They said that if it became necessary, they were ready to sign a peace accord if that would guarantee them the privacy necessary to bury their dead according to their tradition.
Prince Emmanuel Kanu, younger brother of Nnamdi, said the family was doing its best to ensure that the traditional rites of passage of their parents came off peacefully.
“Everybody here is aware that my parents are late and will be buried on the 14th of this month. We are doing all we can, humanly possible, to make sure there will be a peaceful burial.
“Be that as it may, some of you are also aware that there has been incessant invasion of the community up until date. The last one happened few days back where soldiers, numbered in hundreds, came into the community and everybody was running helter-skelter.
“There is no war going on in Isiama Afararukwu. It is a very peaceful town; so is Abia state. So is the entire South East. Why this unnecessary invasion? We are asking them to stay clear from us and allow us bury our parents. Make no mistakes, they (parents) died as a direct result of the Operation Python Dance II.
“We are saying to the world today, to put them on notice, that they (the federal government and its troops) should stay clear of this particular burial. We are here, we do not carry guns, we do not kill, neither have we asked anyone to kill for us.
“We have paid the ultimate price, like we always say it. Everybody who may have died in this struggle, especially my own parents, has paid the ultimate price and I do know that humanity is watching.
“Please, I am using this opportunity to make it clear to the Nigerian government they should avoid Isiama Afaraukwu in the course of this burial. We assure them that we will carry out a peaceful burial, without problems. That is our stand today”, the younger Kanu concluded.
He expressed optimism that sympathisers would have access to their palace on February 14. “Everyone is free to come, I don’t think anybody will stop you,” he said, while answering a question as to whether people could access the burial venue due the presence of the army in the community.
Contributing, president general of Isiama Afaraukwu Development Union, Chief Ikechukwu Ndubueze, disclosed that a burial committee was already in place and that no stone was being left unturned in ensuring successful, peaceful burial of the Kanus.
“What we are doing is specifically a traditional burial for our late monarch and his wife. It is not all about Isiama Afaraukwu but the entire Afaraukwu as a community has gathered to bury their monarch”, Ndubueze said, adding that it was to their knowledge that some black legs were working against the actualisation of their goal.
“We know there are some people who may not actually want this burial to be successful and I still believe that this people are doing everything within their reach to see that they will put up some propaganda aimed at scuttling the burial.
“We are saying that everybody should remain calm because we are very peaceful people and we are doing everything we are doing peacefully. We have tried our best to carry everybody along in the burial plans, including all the security agencies,” he added.
On his own, national president of Ohanaeze Youth Council, Comrade Igboayaka O. Igboyaka, condemned the alleged invasion of the Isiama Afaraukwu community by soldiers, saying that the troops had better be sent to the North where there is insurgency, banditry and kidnapping.
On whether members of IPOB were free to grace the burial, Ndubueze said it was not an IPOB affair as all guests would be appreciated as mourners. “What we have said is that the burial is not an IPOB affair,” he emphasized, adding “everybody that is coming to the burial is coming as a mourner, to mourn with us in this our moment of grief”.
Meanwhile, the Abia state governor, Okezie Ikpeazu, has directed the state ministry of works to ensure the immediate reconstruction of Eze I. O. Kanu Road in Afaraukwu Ibeku, Umuahia North local government area.
This followed an appeal to the governor by Ndubueze on behalf of the community for the purpose. Sources say the state ministry of works has fully mobilised to the site and working to ensure timely completion of the project.