Foremost Biafra group, Indigenous People Of Biafra (IPOB), has denied claims in some quarters that the seccessionist movement was behind rampant killings and beheadings ongoing in Imo State.
Since two weeks ago, there have been several reports of killing and beheading in the troubled state. As at Saturday, 10 heads of citizens have been decapitated with security agencies hastily linking it to Nnamdi Kanu led group and its militia arm, Eastern Security Network (ESN).
The military arm of the seccessionist group which has been confronting security agencies and their formations, including private and public facilities since it was formed late last year, have been described as a child of necessity by Emma Powerful, spokesman of IPOB.
Mr Powerful, in a statement on Sunday, said the armed group’s mandate is to protect residents in rural areas from rampaging violent herdsmen. He denied that ESN which his group uses to enforce sit-at-home orders were responsible for the heinous acts in Imo State where a top commander of the security outfit known as Ikonso was killed.
He also implicated the administration of Governor Hope Uzodinma and security agencies, adding that the governor brought back the Otokoto boys previously known for beheading in the 1990s.
“We know (Otokoto) their characters, their homes and their stories well, and know how the assigned governor of Imo State was hobnobbing with them as a Senator, and it was a matter of him becoming the Imo State chief executive for them to return with their boys to hide under the name of the government to continue unleashing terror on the people, the reason for which they were chased out of the state in the first place,” Powerful claimed.
“We want Imo State elders and political elites to ask the state governor, why his government has brought back people that were chased out of the state for their crimes back to continue their atrocious activities?
“Imo elders and political elites should tell themselves the truth and be bold enough to confront the man they call their governor to ask him what has gone wrong and why the crooks are back in the state and some now made part of the government,” he added.
The group, which also condemned the killing of those it said were innocent, lampooned those linking and believing that ESN is behind the killings and beheading, adding that any criminal now caught in the state or the South-East in general is now branded its member.
“We strongly condemn incessant unprovoked killings and attacks on innocent citizens of Imo State by the Nigeria security agencies supervised allegedly by the Commissioner of Police Imo State, Abutu Yaro,” it said.
“The victims of this secret genocide are tagged ESN operatives and IPOB members by the wicked security agencies who give them a wrong identity to justify their extra-judicial killing.
“For sure, every Igbo man and woman is IPOB but not ESN. ESN is a child of necessity and not for everybody. It is for a special group for a definite assignment which is mandated to defend our ancestral land our mothers, wives and sisters against the Fulani invaders.
“It is sheer wickedness for the Police and its sister security agencies to be killing Imo youths like fowls after parading them as ESN and IPOB members, while our governors, politicians and traditional rulers are keeping mute.
“Those killing our youth and tagging them IPOB and ESN will surely pay for their wickedness. We will no longer allow these double-faced fellows who cannot confront Fulani bandits to be randomly killing our people and labelling them IPOB and ESN operatives.
“The International community should not believe Nigeria and their lies against IPOB and ESN. The security agencies have tried hard to penetrate ESN, but it was not easy for them, then they decided to use propaganda and false allegations and information against IPOB and ESN.
“Imo State governor in his desperation to demonize ESN and create confusion allowed security agencies o implicate innocent citizens of the state as IPOB, and has been encouraging them to kill his people, but he will one day regret all his actions.
“Any criminal or armed robber caught in Imo State now is branded ESN operative by Fulani Police Commissioner in Owerri. The pictures of those in the story published as arrested ESN operatives are suspects of other offences as well as innocent Biafrans.
“The Nigeria Police has taken it as a norm every month to attack youths, parade them and brand them IPOB and ESN, to implicate innocent and responsible Biafra agitating group and our beloved ESN,” IPOB added.