Ebonyi state governor, Dave Umahi on Thursday said some criminals are committing crimes under the guise of the Eastern Security Network established by the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB).
Umahi, a member of the ruling All Progressives Congress, stated this while featuring on Channels Television’s ‘Sunrise Daily’ programme.
He said, “The truth of what is happening is that there are bandits everywhere; there are cultists everywhere. What happens now in South-East is that criminals who may not necessarily be members of IPOB and ESN, will go and commit crimes and they need a name.
“So it’s safer for them to say they are members of ESN, and IPOB so that the persecution of IPOB and ESN by the Federal Government will cover them.
“That is what is happening in South-East because IPOB and ESN have a number of times come out to say they are not into terrorism and violence, and the people burning police stations and killing are not their members. And so how do you reconcile the two?”
IPOB has been blamed for the recent attacks on prisons and police stations in the South-East but the group has denied the claims, insisting that they are agitators.
Nnamdi Kanu, leader of the group had in December 2020 launched ESN to protect the people of South-East and South-South regions from terrorists and bandits allegedly trooping in from the North.
The IPOB leader described the outfit as a replica of the Western Nigeria Security Network, also known as Amotekun, earlier launched by the South-West governors to curb insecurity in the region.
"The sole aim and objective of this newly formed security outfit known as Eastern Security Network are to halt every criminal activity and the terrorist attack on Biafraland," Kanu had said.
"This outfit, which is a vigilante group like the Amotekun in the South-West and the Miyetti Allah security outfit, will ensure the safety of our forests and farmland, which terrorists have converted into slaughter grounds and raping fields."