The chief of Army Staff Lt.Gen.Tukur Buratai has said that Nnamdi Kanu,the leader of the indigenous people of Biafra (IPOB) was never taken into custody.
Buratai said this while responding to a suit filed by the IPOB leader’s lawyers ordering him to produce their client.
In his counter-affidavit, the Chief of Army staff claimed that his men never had contact with Kanu during the Operation Python Dance exercise.
According to Daily Post, Buratai, in his affidavit said “That the applicant (Kanu) is not and has never been in his custody or in the custody of any person, officer or institution receiving instruction directly or indirectly from him.
“That the applicant was not at any time whatsoever arrested, taken into custody or detained by the Officers and men of the Nigerian Army.
“That the officers and men of the Nigerian Army did not have any contact whatsoever or confrontation or any operational engagement with the applicant on September 12 or 14, 20l7 or any other date thereafter, contrary to the allegations in the affidavit in support of the application.
“That the allegation of invasion of the South-Eastern part of Nigeria by officers and men of the Nigerian Army, especially the applicant’s home and or residence is totally false.”
He also said “That while on a peaceful movement on the said September 14, 2017, the soldiers randomly conducted stop-and-search operations as are necessary and it was during one of such exercises in Umuahia, Abia State, that it flagged down a truck, which as it turned out later, was loaded with arms and ammunitions of varying degrees and descriptions.
“Rather than comply with the stop order, the driver and other occupants of the truck recklessly ran over the barricade mounted on the road by the soldiers and sped off, whereupon the soldiers at the point gave a hot chase and called for reinforcement to enable them pursue and arrest the fleeing vehicle. The soldiers did not fire any shot at the fleeing truck in order to prevent the loss of lives.
“That the truck loaded with the arms and ammunition was pursued into a compound which has now been described in this application as belonging to and under the control of the applicant (Kanu) and his father.
“That it was the legitimate attempt by the officers and men of the Nigerian Army to arrest the fleeing occupants of the truck and impound the truck that precipitated the deliberate igniting of the ammunition in the truck by persons now believed to be IPOB members.
“Throughout the duration of the Operation Python Dance II, officers and men of the Nigerian Army obeyed the Rules of Engagement and Code of Conduct to the letter as there was no reported case of indiscriminate shooting, unlawful arrest, detention or torture, contrary to the wild, bland, untrue, incorrect, bogus and insipid allegations contained in or oozed out in the affidavit of Prince Mandela Umegborogu Esq.
“The allegations of firing of live bullets on the applicant’s relatives, killing of scores of persons, wounding and arrest of many, attack and invasion of applicant’s home, barricade at Isialangwa, arrest and torture of civilians by officers and me of the Nigerian Army, as stated by the deponent, are a figment of his imagination as same are not true.”
His revelation sparked outrage in some quarters, causing a human rights group, Advocate of Social Justice for All [ASJA], to demand that Kanu be extradited from the United Kingdom.
The Executive Director of ASJA, Asongo Venatius who gave the warning at a press conference held in Abuja, said that the UK should be ready for mass action if their demand is not met.