The Nigerian Army has undertaken a 1.5 kilometre road project in Orlu in the Nkwerre Local Government Area of Imo State, which is now near completion.
SaharaReporters learnt that the move was to win the admiration of the residents and to discredit the Eastern Security Network, which is gaining popularity in the communities.
The project is being carried out by an army engineering team from the Department of Civil Military Affairs of the Nigerian Army Headquarters, Abuja.
“The same project was carried out in Uromi in Edo State, Asaba in Delta State and Anambra State. These projects are to get the love and admiration of the communities, and to weaken the negative influence of the ESN. The project is being executed from the army headquarters in Abuja.
“The communities have been neglected by their state governments and there is no visible infrastructure. The roads are bad. This is also why the South-East communities feel they are being marginalised and they also transfer that aggression to the military,” a military source said.
“The engineering team which came for inspection of the road was also caught in the crossfire of the clash between army and the ESN. The team included a Major and a Brigadier General who were sent from Abuja to inspect the projects and evaluate their level of completeness.
“Their Hilux van was hit by gunshots, their escorts were killed and some of their rifles were stolen,” another source noted.
In the last week of January 2021, there was a crisis in Orlu after a clash occurred between ESN officers and soldiers, which resulted in the deaths of people.
About four soldiers were lost during the clash as five other persons, including a middle-aged woman, were said to have been killed in crossfire.
The affected soldiers were said to have been drawn from the 34 Artillery Brigade in Obinze.
The leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra and founder of the Eastern Security Network, Nnamdi Kanu, had called on the members of the ESN to cease fire with the Nigerian military and return to the forests.