Ebonyi State Governor Dave Umahi on Thursday said some criminals are committing crimes under the guise of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and Eastern Security Network (ESN) in the South-East.
The governor made the comment during an interview on Newspot breakfast programme Sunrise Daily.
“The truth of what is happening is that there are bandits everywhere; there are cultists everywhere. What happens now in the 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?” he said.
The governor urged South-East governors to rise against the ugly trend of attacks on security outfits especially police stations in the region.
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“It is a monster that we must not allow to arise in the South-East. When they finish with that (attacking police stations) they will start attacking stakeholders to kill them,” Umahi said.
IPOB Or Gunmen?
IPOB has been blamed for the recent attacks on prisons and police stations in the South-East but the group have denied the claims noting they are agitators, not gunmen.
Few hours after gunmen attacked the Nigerian Correctional Services and the Police Headquarters in the Imo State freeing prison inmates, the Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Mohammed Adamu revealed that the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB)/Eastern Security Network (ESN) was behind the attack.
In response to this, IPOB stressed that they are not gunmen.
“We were not involved in the attack in Owerri and the recent attack on Onitsha-Owerri road at Ukwuorji junction.
“It is not our mandate to attack security personnel or prison facilities,’’ the Media and Publicity Secretary of the group, Emma Powerful said.
Meanwhile, Imo State Governor, Hope Uzodinma in his reaction to attacks in the South-East blamed aggrieved politicians, saying their aim was to destabilise his government and that of President Muhammadu Buhari.
The governor reacting three days after gunmen attacked the Nigerian Correctional Services and the Police Headquarters in Imo State explained that security agencies have gathered intelligence on the sponsors of the thugs and their planning leading to the attack on government establishments.