THE Indigenous People of Biafra, IPoB, has responded to a series of allegations by the military that its Eastern Security Network, ESN, is behind the attacks and other forms of insecurity going on in the South-East, particularly in Imo State.
It also traced the origin of the insecurity in the zone to what was described as the political war between Imo State governor, Hope Uzodinma, and his predecessor, Rochas Okorocha.
In a chat with Sunday Vanguard, spokesperson for the group, Emma Powerful, who dismissed the claim by the Nigerian Army that IPoB members were responsible for the beheading of two soldiers, said until the differences between the duo are resolved the area may not know peace.
He cited the arrest of Okorocha’s son-in-law, Uche Nwosu, as an example of the ‘’ego fight’’ between the two All Progressives Congress, APC, politicians.
To substantiate its claim of political warfare between Senator Uzodimma and Senator Okorocha as the immediate and remote causes of insecurity crisis in Imo State, Powerful queried what has happened to the case of the arrest of Nwosu.
Reacting further to the allegation by the military that IPoB is behind the insecurity and killings in Imo State, Powerful said unknown people were armed to fight against the IPoB, describing what is happening in Imo as a “chain reaction of a misplaced fight against IPoB and ESN.”
Powerful said: “Recall that IPoB had earlier issued a statement last month entitled: “Those attacking people on Biafra land, particularly in Imo State are not IPoB and ESN operatives but criminals recruited by politicians and security agents to demonize IPoB.”
“We said in the statement that “Following the incessant abduction, killing and burning down of properties belonging to Biafrans and Igbos, we the global movement and family of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPoB, under the command and leadership of our great leader Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, wish to state unequivocally that those behind these atrocities are not IPoB member nor are they Eastern Security Network operative.
“The perpetrators are criminals recruited by our enemies to demonize us. We said that no member of IPoB will engage in acts inimical to the people we are struggling to liberate. And ESN will not turn around to kill the people they are protecting against the menace of killer herdsmen and terrorists. We are not killers and we cannot suddenly resort to terrorism, which is not part of our mandate.
“These agents of darkness behind these senseless and barbaric acts are the ones who don’t want our detained leader, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, to be released. Their intention is to create the false impression that his followers are violent, but they are wrong. “We want to make it categorically clear to all and sundry that anybody committing any atrocity in Biafraland in the name of IPoB or ESN operative doesn’t want Biafra to come. Those behind this madness are working to criminalize IPoB. They must also be prepared to pay for their sins because Chukwu Okike Abiama, Almighty God of Biafrans will not allow anyone who inflicts pains and sorrow on our people to go free.
“We also said in that statement that we very strongly condemn any attack on non-Biafran nationals living in our land. These agents of sorrow may be targeting them to further rope us into genocidal attacks which we have always stood against. Our leader, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, had predicted what is happening during his numerous prophetic radio broadcasts. During those broadcasts, he had also spoken against attacks on non-indigenes.
“Mazi Nnamdi Kanu made a holistic announcement during those days that Hausas are facing the same predicaments Igbo people are facing in Nigeria and should be allowed to do business anywhere they like in Biafraland. Biafrans shall never try to harm any Hausa man or woman in Biafra land for any reason. IPoB will ensure the protection of all persons living in Biafra land including non-indigenes. We will continue to protect them against our common enemy – the jihadists and their sponsors.”
The IPoB spokesman further said the spirit of the Commander of ESN, Ikonso who was killed is not resting peacefully because his corpse hasn’t been released for proper burial.
He said Imo State government must appease the deceased’s family, rebuild his burnt family house and arrange a proper burial for him.
According to him, “we also expressed deep concern and reminded Biafrans, friends of Biafra and lovers of freedom across the world that this is a year our gallant Comrade Ikonso was murdered. They murdered the innocent citizen who they saw as a threat to the evil agenda of jihadists masquerading as herdsmen in Biafra land.
“IPoB movement has been looking for the body of this man for one year and we have not seen his lifeless body and all his family houses were burnt down because he was defending Biafra land against occupation by jihadists. Other gallant Biafrans arrested by security agents around this time last year are not yet released.
“We also recalled that they abducted over 500 youths in Imo State since last year, and we want those youths back for prosecution if they think they committed any crime.
“We will continue to state our incontrovertible fact on why it is not IPoB and ESN that are behind the insecurity and killing in South East and Imo State. Recall that a couple of weeks back Hope Uzodinna told the public that IPoB is not responsible for the insecurity in Imo State, but for aggrieved politicians, it was widely reported in the media. Where did the military get their facts to accuse us? Are they now calling Uzodinma a liar?
‘’Now, their latest lie against IPoB is that we killed an Army couple who had attended their traditional marriage in Owerri, what a blatant lie. We have made it categorically clear that we have no hand in that dastardly, heinous and abominable act of killing a couple, Biafrans, the Igbo are not known for such an abomination. We can never kill our daughter and our in-law.
In our statement entitled: “ We have no hand in beheading an army couple in Imo State,’’ we made it clear that the allegation against IPoB was laughable and fallacious.
“We made it clear that no true Igbo will hurt an in-law, let alone one who just married our daughter ( Ada Igbo) in Igbo land. God forbid that we will be involved in such a course. And we placed a cause that the Igbo ancestors will avenge such wickedness against our daughter and her husband, (our in-law).
“We told the army to bring out their facts to substantiate their claim before jumping into their jaundiced conclusion that such an abominable act was masterminded by IPoB. What investigation did they carry out to substantiate their claim?
“The Nigerian military, particularly the army should leave IPoB alone because we are not unknown gunmen and those who are pursuing them. The monster they created is now after them, yet they keep pointing accusing fingers at us.
“The latest allegation is part of their propaganda to stain our global reputation, but the world knows they are lying. How come the bandits and terrorists beheading and massacring indigenous Nigerians, particularly in Southern Kaduna and Plateau State go unpunished, while the Nigerian Army is in the South-East ?
“Bandits have not stopped killing innocent citizens and security agents yet the Nigerian Army has never made it a media issue or burnt down their houses and properties. But any time these hoodlums commit any atrocity, they will quickly rush to the press and accuse IPoB without investigation. We understand their game plan. All they are after is to blackmail IPoB before our international friends who understand our predicaments in the region.”