Soldiers of the Nigerian Army have reportedly blocked the entrance of the Afara Ukwu (Abia State) country home of Nnamdi Kanu, leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), ahead of his parents’ burial.
Amnesty International (AI) quoted residents as saying the soldiers are also harassing residents in the area ahead of the funeral scheduled for Friday.
In a statement on Wednesday, AI said it gathered from some persons that “they saw soldiers harassing people at Bank road while another man said he was prevented from going to his house by soldiers who blocked the road entrance to Eze Kanu’s palace.”
Osai Ojigho, Amnesty director in Nigeria, called for caution, and asked the security agencies to “deescalate the rising tension” in the Abia community.
Ohigho said, “The Nigerian security forces must exercise restraint and prevent a repetition of the September 2017 events that left at least 20 people killed and some still missing, when the military attempted to arrest Nnamdi Kanu in his home in Afara Ukwu.”
“While law enforcement officers are within their rights to carry out their lawful duties, the use of force should be proportional and strictly limited to those situations where it is absolutely necessary. Both IPOB supporters and security forces must at all times respect and protect human rights of all.
“Concerns about possible violence during the funeral must be addressed within the framework of human rights and rule of law.”
CHECKPOINTCHARLEY is yet to confirm the blockade, but there has been heavy military presence in Afara Ukwu community since the burial was announced.
Despite this, IPOB, tagged a terrorist organisation last year by the president Muhammadu Buhari government, said its members will attend the event.
Recall that Ene Okon, Abia commissioner of police, had threatened that the funeral would not take place if IPOB members attend.