A disturbing, hard to watch two minute, eight seconds video of how the Eastern Security Network (ESN), the security wing of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), celebrated the abduction and beheading of two out of three police officers, has surfaced online, causing shock and disbelief across the social space.
The repulsive video featured some young men, believed to be IPOB/ESN members, communicating in the Igbo language and surrounding two severed heads of the police officers, placed by a fire they set up as if being roasted, in a remote place.
The brutish young men, who cannibalised the deceased, clowned and scorned them, even as they repeatedly stated that, one of the two killed looked like a “Fulani” from the look of his nose, the third officer was seen sitting on the floor with his fate unknown at the time the video was released.
But the federal government, which described the development as unacceptable, has vowed to bring to justice, the persons behind the gruesome murder of the two policemen.
Also, the Northern Elders Forum (NEF), on Monday, kicked against alleged plans by President Muhammadu Buhari to succumb to pressure and terminate the on-going trial of the IPOB leader, Nnamdi Kanu.
However, the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, in a statement on Monday, described the abduction of the three policemen and the killing of two of them, in the most horrific, barbaric and cannibalistic manner, as an unacceptable attack against the Nigerian state.
He condemned the murder of two policemen, warning that those, who carried out the killings, videotaped their heinous act and circulated such would be apprehended and brought to justice.
Mohammed identified the officers as ASP Francis Idoko (AP No. 154945); Inspector Emmanuel Akubo (AP No. 222336) and Inspector Rufai Adamu (AP. No. 285009), all serving officers of the Nigeria Police.
According to him, they were abducted on November 27, 2021 by members of the Eastern Security Network (ESN), acting on the instructions of their leader, Chinonso Okafor, otherwise known as Temple.
”Two of the officers, Inspectors Akubo and Adamu, were killed in the most gruesome manner and their decapitated bodies videotaped and circulated widely. The leader of the ESN team that killed the two officers is one ‘Gentle’.
”Chinonso Okafor, the most influential commander of ESN in charge of Imo and Anambra States, as well as ‘Gentle’ and all those who perpetrated the abhorrent act will be made to face swift and sure justice,” he said.
While condemning the targeting and killing of security agents under any guise as a direct attack on the state that would not be tolerated, the minister said the continued attacks on security agents and agencies of government by ESN/IPOB ran contrary to calls in certain quarters for a political solution to the IPOB issue.
He also queried why those making calling for political solution have yet to condemn the appalling murder of serving police officers.
The minister, however, paid glowing tributes to the officers, who made the supreme sacrifice in the service to their fatherland, as well as all security agents, who were serving the nation to the best of their ability in a most difficult moment.
He further condoled with the families of the slain officers, praying that God to comfort and strengthen them.
Meanwhile, NEF, while advising President Buhari not to yield to pressure to release Kanu, said granting such request could do more harm to the country.
A group under the aegis of Highly Respected Igbo Greats, led by First Republic parliamentarian and Minister of Aviation, Chief Mbazulike Amaechi, had recently met with the president at the State House, Abuja, where they demanded unconditional release of the IPOB leader.
The president said their demand for unconditional release of Kanu was a difficult one, but he would consider the request of the respected Igbo leaders.
NEF Kicks against Kanu’s Release
But the Director of Publicity and Advocacy of NEF, Dr. Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, in a statement yesterday said there were no safe, constructive or informed grounds for granting the request.
According to him, “Northern Elders Forum has carefully studied the request of Igbo Elders for President Muhammadu Buhari to terminate the trial of Nnamdi Kanu and release him unconditionally. It has also noted President Buhari’s response, which both raised very weighty issues related to the request, and his commitment to consider it.
“The forum notes that there are no safe, constructive or informed grounds for granting the request, and advises that President Buhari will do serious injury to a country already threatened by multiple challenges to its security and territorial integrity if he delays announcing the only responsible response, which is that the judicial process in the case of Kanu must be allowed to run its course.”
The forum alluded to a judicial decision to label bandits and kidnappers as terrorists, and recommended greater clarity in terms of the targets of this development.
It added, “In any event, the forum cautions against profiling and targeting all Fulani as terrorists. Millions of law-abiding Fulani exist, who should be encouraged to stay on the side of the law, while those who have chosen to continue on the path of criminality should feel the full weight of the law.”
The forum further advised that the national census planned for 2022 should be postponed until after the 2023 elections. It said the integrity and success of a sensitive and vital activity, such as census, would be compromised by destabilised and threatened communities and proximity to another sensitive activity, general election.
While decrying the hardship under which the vast majority of the population lived, the forum noted that the increasing poverty level and widespread insecurity demanded that leaders should exercise extreme caution in taking economic and security-related decisions.
It stressed that an increase in the price of fuel, in particular, would compound the already desperate condition of living of most Nigerians.
NEF said it was important that decisions on this matter included consideration of the interests of the national economy, welfare of the citizens, and reactions of a hard-pressed citizenry.
Kalu’s Visit to Kanu
In a related development, Senate Chief Whip, Orji Uzor Kalu, yesterday, visited Kanu, in the custody of the Department of State Services and advised him to be wary of some of his actions.
Kalu, in a statement personally signed, said the IPOB leader was in good health and under proper care.
The former governor of Abia State, however, noted that he spoke with Kanu as a brother and told him the need to consider the consequences of certain actions that he would be taking.
His words: “This afternoon, I visited my brother, Maazi Nnamdi Kanu in DSS custody, Abuja. I met him in good health and care and we discussed as ‘Umunne’.
“In 2001, when I was Governor, I made his father Eze Israel Okwu Kanu, the traditional ruler of Akwara Ukwu and since then the family has been very close to me.
“I understand that Nnamdi has an insane number of people rooting for him back home and I encouraged him to consider the consequences of certain actions and utterances for the sake of the same people.
“Even though my ideology and his ideology are totally different, God has made us brothers and we can’t run away from each other. I owe him and Nigerians good counselling, whether he and his family listen to me or not. I will continue to counsel him as I have always done in the past. What we need most is a peaceful and secured society.”
Olawale Ajimotokan and Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja