The Chief Whip of the Senate, Senator Orji Uzor Kalu on Wednesday described as false allegations that he broke the Department of State Service protocol when he visited the leader of the proscribed Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) Mazi Nnamdi Kanu on Monday. Orji Uzor Kalu gave the explanation in a statement he personally signed and made available to our correspondent in Abuja, in reaction to the claims by Barr Ifeanyi Ejiofor, the lawyer of the detained IPOB leader.
The former governor of Abia State also said the picture that was circulated with the story of his visit was not a recent one and that it was not taken on Monday. He said the lawyer actually disappointed him with all the wrong allegations he leveled against him as a result of his visit to the IPOB leader.
Part of the statement read; “It has come to my notice, the statement issued by one of the counsels to Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, Barrister Ifeanyi Ejiofor, in which I am very disappointed in him. He rightly acknowledged that I was scheduled to visit his client and at the same time, claimed that I violated the guidelines stipulated for visiting his client.
“According to him, he was supposed to be present at the 2 pm meeting on Monday. Several people, including Barrister Ifeanyi Ejiofor have tried to misinterpret and misinform the public about my visit to my brother, Nnamdi Kanu. I also read a report stating that I took pictures with Nnamdi Kanu and also tweeted same on my Twitter account.
“For the records, the Department of State Services (DSS) did not break any protocol during my visit as I fulfilled all the requirements expected of me before I saw Nnamdi Kanu. The DSS affirmed that I cannot see Nnamdi Kanu without the application of his lawyers which I diligently did.
“Probably, Barrister Ifeanyi Ejiofor may have expected me to arrive at 4 pm for a scheduled 2 pm visit. What many people refer to as “African time” is not my style. I strictly keep to time and it is a discipline I have upheld since my childhood.
“I arrived at the DSS headquarters at 1:50 pm, went through the necessary protocols, and met Nnamdi at 2:17 pm. I stayed with him until 2: 57 PM. Even though he asked that I stayed longer but I had to leave because of other engagements.
“During my visit to Nnamdi Kanu, I did not even take my mobile phone along and no photograph was taken. The photograph people are circulating was the one I took with him when I visited him at the Nigerian Correctional Service, Kuje in 2016 and later, his parents in 2017. My Twitter account has also been inactive.
“I don’t also know if Barrister Ifeanyi Ejiofor is aware that Nnamdi Kanu is not under compulsion to see anyone. If he didn’t want to see me, he could have as well declined, but he was glad to see me and also expressed deep appreciations.
“Barr Ifeanyi Ejiofor’s anger seems to be borne out of vexation of not being around to listen to our conversations. He sounds like someone who is a beneficiary of the crisis. People like him may not see the economic damage the Southeast is experiencing because of the weekly sit-at-home.
“He does not understand that people can protest in peace without disrupting economic activities and going violent. He does not understand that there are people whose livelihood solely depends on the daily hustle. If you have people’s interest at heart, you should as well consider their security, economic prosperity, and peaceful livelihood.
“I call on Barr Ifeanyi Ejiofor to be patriotic, rise above primordial and pecuniary interest, and put the interest of the people of the Southeast and the country first,” Senator Orji Uzor Kalu stated.