Following the tension that is building up as the date for the burial of the parents of the leader of Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu draws closer, the Abia State Commissioner of Police, Ene Okon in this interview with OKEY SAMPSON in Umuahia has warned members of the pro Biafra group not to come near Umuahia, the Abia State capital under the guise of coming for the burial or they would have themselves to blame.
The burial of the parents of IPOB leader, Nnmadi Kanu is coming up next week, the pro Biafra group said they would participate actively. Is the Police comfortable with that?
Do you think we will sit down here and allow IPOB to participate in the burial? Whoever thinks along that line is fooling himself. IPOB will dance during the burial and the police elephants will dance too.
IPOB said they are not coming for war or cause any trouble, but just to pay the parents of their leader their last respect. How would police react to that?
I have already reached out to the traditional prime minister of Afaraukwu (Nnamdi Kanu’s community) and told him that if they want the burial to go smoothly and for police to give them security, they should tell IPOB not to near the area not to talk of participating in the burial. If they fail to adhere to what we’ve told them, that means they do not want the burial to go on smoothly because we are going to scatter the place. IPOB is proscribed by the Federal Government. I, as the Commissioner of Police in Abia cannot sit here and allow any proscribed group to operate anywhere in this state. I am saying this again for emphasis that there is no way police will allow a proscribed group to participate in the burial of the King and Queen of Afaraukwu simply because they are the parents of their acclaimed leader, we will not allow that and we cannot take anything for granted in the face of abundant intelligence on threat by IPOB. If the burial committee writes to police to provide security during the burial, we will oblige them on the condition that they will guarantee us that IPOB will never, ever be part of the burial, IPOB will never get near there, in fact that IPOB will never, ever enter Umuahia. That police will not see any Biafra flag, IPOB insignia or IPOB member disguising as Jewish or Zionist Church members.
In a burial of this nature, how would one identify who is an IPOB member or not?
If they come for the burial as ordinary people, not as a group, without Biafra flag or insignia, we won’t know them. But if they come
as a group, with their Biafra flags and insignia and we identify them that is where the problem will come because as a group, the Federal Government has described them as a terrorist group and proscribed them. And it is within our mandate to maintain law and order and we have to make sure that law and order is maintained.
IPOB is emphatic that its members will participate in the burial, what are we expecting?
By saying they were coming for the burial, they are sending signal to us telling us to be ready for them and we will be ready for them. We’ve told the organizers of the burial, if IPOB members are allowed to participate, we will do everything within our powers to disperse and if in the process the burial is disrupted, police will not be blamed.
Would the police contemplate cancelling the burial if intelligence report has it that IPOB participation may cause a break down of law and order?
Police did not organize the burial and so cannot cancel their burial, but if IPOB insists on hijacking the burial and taking it up, I will do everything within my powers and within the ambit of the law to make sure that IPOB does not bring a breakdown of law and order in this place. So, they are seriously warned in their own interest.