The decision by the Abuja Federal High Court, presided over by Justice Binta Nyako, to allow witnesses testify in masks, in the trial of leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu has been criticized by the leadership of Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) which described it as a sign that the Federal Government is insincere in its approach.
MASSOB leader, Uchenna Madu, issued a statement yesterday, which described the latest development as judicial manipulation.
“How can a presiding judge allow herself to be manipulated in such a bizarre manner? Kanu and others are not terrorists who can be tried in secrecy.
“Why must the witnesses cover their faces? These are signs of (being) jittery, frustration. This judgment is not targeted against the people of Biafra but Nigerian Christians in general.”
The MASSOB leader reiterated that Kanu is unbowed and that the Biafran profile has risen higher than the Nigerian state.
“MASSOB wishes to inform Nyako that Kanu is among the few determined factors of current Biafran struggle for actualisation and restoration, the more he’s being caged, the more diplomatic relationship of Nigeria with G8 is shaken and shrinks.
“Though Kanu represents the people of Biafra and carries the burden of the Biafra nation, the federal government and Nyako must know that caging him is far from caging the conscience and consciousness of the Biafra people or the self-determination struggle. The people’s struggle is not centred around one man.
“Alhough Kanu may seem to be the leading figure of the current Biafra struggle, Biafra is bigger, taller and greater than leaders of pro Biafran groups.”
Meanwhile, MASSOB and Biafran Independent Movement (BIM), yesterday, announced that five members have been missing since November 26, 2016, during the Dim Chukwuemeka Ojukwu memorial celebration.
MASSOB-BIM leader for Anambra North Zone, Pastor Emmanuel Omenka, who spoke through the Director of Information, Charles Igbokwe, also raised the alarm over what they described as “a sinister plot by the Nigerian Army from the 302 Artillery Regiment, Onitsha, to wipe out all our members.”
The group queried “why soldiers have been haunting members for no just cause while they have continued to push for their self determination struggle in a non-violent manner…”
Giving a graphic account of their ordeal, the group alleged that, “soldiers from 302 Artillery take delight in tormenting us. They shoot our members and cover some of them with tarpaulin inside the barracks. In 2013, during our 15th year celebration, they ambushed us at St. Lwanga Catholic Church, Okpoko.
“It was the same thing in 2015, during our anniversary. The most recent happened on November 26, on our way to Owerri, Imo State, for the Ojukwu memorial.
“They hijacked our bus, offloaded all members on board and later took away five people among us and till today, we have not set our eyes on them again. We are afraid that they might have been wasted them.”
But the Deputy Director, Army Public Relations, 82 Division, Enugu, Col. Sagir Musa said there was no truth in the allegations by the pro-Biafra group who he said delights in sensationalism.
He said rather, arrests were made along Onitsha Owerri Road by 302 Artillery Regiment Patrol team on Sunday December 4, not on November 26 as alleged by the group.