Ipob member missing for 19 months

From Jeff Amechi Agbodo, Onitsha

Eighty-two-year-old Madam Usulor Nwali, mother of a member of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Abraham Nwali, who has been missing, has cried out to security agencies and the federal government to release his son, whether he is dead or alive.

Abraham, a native of Umunwagu, Idembia community in Ezza South Local Government Area of Ebonyi State, has not been seen since May 29, 2016, when soldiers swooped on the premises of St. Edmumd’s Catholic Church, near Onitsha, Anambra State, and allegedly attacked some members of IPOB who had gathered from various places to hold a prayer vigil in preparation to mark the anniversary of the Biafra Day celebration at Nkpor.

Madam Nwali who spoke with Sunday Sun, stated that her son, who would be 34 years this year was reported to have traveled to Onitsha from his Amachai New Site residence, in Okpanam, Oshimili North Local Government Area of Delta State to join other members of IPOB, and has not been seen since the attack by soldiers against the group.

She lamented that her other children had continued to convince her that her son was alive, but she has remained doubtful as she is yet to hear his voice or see him in person.

The aged widow, who lamented the death of her husband a year after she gave birth to Abraham appeared so pale and withdrawn since news of the disappearance of her son was broken to her, also demanded to be given an opportunity to have a chat with President Muhammadu Buhari over the matter.

“May God curse the day soldiers of the Nigerian Army invaded St. Edmumd’s Catholic Church, Nkpor, which may have resulted to the disappearance of my son. May the Federal Government of Nigeria consider my age and find my son for me. I want to see my son either dead or alive,” she said.

“I laboured so much to bring Abraham into this world, I don’t have people to help me at this old age. It was my son Abraham who was well-to-do and had been caring for me before soldiers attacked him and other members of IPOB, where they had gone to commemorate the anniversary of the declaration of the defunct State of Biafra,” Nwali said.

Continuing, she said: “My son was not carrying any gun nor machete to warrant such brutality. Who must have taken away my son from me,” the aged woman cried uncontrollably.

On the fateful day, members of IPOB had arrived from various locations within the South East and the Igbo speaking areas of Rivers and Delta States before soldiers attacked them at St. Edmund’s Catholic church, Nkpor, near the commercial town of Onitsha.

When the dust cleared, soldiers reportedly evacuated about 200 bodies of dead victims to unknown destination while several members of IPOB sustained various degrees of injury in what was described by eyewitnesses as a gruesome military onslaught against the defenceless civilians, who were agitating for the restoration of self-determination of the people of Biafra.

Recall that following the attack on the Umuahia, Abia State home of the IPOB leader, Nnamdi Kanu, during the Operation Python Dance II in September 2017, and subsequent proscription of IPOB by the federal government as a terrorist organization, several members of the group went underground. Meanwhile, several members of the group are in detention or prison, awaiting trial, while some are already being tried.

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Author: Uche Atuma