Stephen Ukandu, Umuahia
The Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, has claimed that contrary to misconceptions in some quarters, the operatives of the Eastern Security Network, ESN, as well as IPOB members, have tremendously helped to checkmate state sponsored terror in the South-East.
This is as the pro-Biafra movement has challenged the Nigerian authorities to fix a date for Biafra referendum if it thought that the entire people in the region were not part of the struggle for Biafra liberation.
IPOB’s Media and Publicity Secretary, Emma Powerful, in a press statement made available to Ikengaonline, dissociated the operatives of ESN as well as IPOB members from the perpetrators of insecurity and criminality in the South-East.
The statement said that the perpetrators of the insecurity in the South-East were recruited to demonise IPOB and Biafra agitators.
IPOB further explained that ESN established by its Leader Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, had rather helped to protect the people of the South-East against invaders.
“IPOB and ESN operatives are not responsible for the insecurity ravaging the Eastern Region. Instead, we have helped to curb the spread of state sponsored armed militias in the East who are the cause of the insecurity,” the statement claimed.
“Our aim of forming ESN outfit was to safeguard our territory from the Fulani terrorists masquerading as herdsmen in our bushes and forests in Biafraland.”
IPOB said that associating it with insecurity in the South-East was a deliberate ploy by the enemies to discredit the movement and stain its global reputation.
“In their effort to blackmail IPOB, politicians sponsored criminal armed groups in the East to create insecurity so as to blame IPOB and ESN including making money from the Federal Government.
“But our people now know the truth and they commend ESN for securing our farmlands. Today many of our bushes are safe and secure and our farmers are happily going to farms without the threat of being butchered like wild animals or raped in their farmlands.
“Nigerian government unlawfully proscribed IPOB and tagged us terrorists for seeking self determination of our territory.
“When we sued them over the proscription, they have refused to come to answer the case and charges in their own court.
“However, the international governmental bodies and other countries in the world know us as a peaceful and non-violent movement seeking freedom of our people.”
IPOB said Nigeria had lost every legal ground to quell the agitation for Biafra restoration.
“Nigerian Government has lost any legal ground to stop Biafra agitation championed by Mazi Nnamdi Kanu and IPOB members worldwide.
“Nigeria Government is still working hard to brand IPOB as a violent movement before the international community. Fortunately for us, this is the information age not 1967. The international community has its intelligence sources who give it accurate information devoid of Nigerian government’s propaganda.
“Despite their proscription, arrests, torture, and forceful abductions in Nigeria, IPOB still maintains good reputation with the international community.
“What infiltrators, saboteurs, agent provocateur and others who were paid to tarnish IPOB’s reputation don’t understand is that, violent movements usually don’t get a round table discussion or audience with the international community. Have you ever seen any terrorist group having legal representation and engaging with global audiences? We have global attention because we are not violent, neither are we terrorist as Nigeria Government unjustly tagged us.”
The pro-Biafra movement dissociated itself from hoodlums behind kidnappings and violent crimes in parts of the zone.
“Anybody killing, kidnapping, and snatching cars, collecting ransom in the name of doing it for IPOB or Nnamdi Kanu is an enemy and has no part with IPOB struggles.”
IPOB called for collaboration against criminal gangs in the zone who perpetrate various crimes to demonise the agitation for Biafra.
“We all need to join hands with IPOB to root out both sponsored and individual criminals in our land because criminal activities are an impediment to our freedom.
“The good relationship IPOB has maintained with the international community even with all the heavy lobbying against us is a major problem for Nigeria. That is why till today Nigeria government is still accusing some countries of supporting IPOB to destabilize Nigeria.
“Yes, IPOB till today still enjoys the support of some powerful countries because we are a non-violent movement and our quest for self determination is lawful and it doesn’t matter what the Nigeria State does.”
The statement enjoined Biafra agitators to maintain their non-violent posture, insisting that Biafra will be restored without violence.
“Biafrans must maintain the peaceful agitation because the international community has refused the proscription of IPOB as a violent or a terrorist organisation.
“Till today the Nigeria government is still hunting and supplying fake information and evidence to the international community to justify their terrorist tag on IPOB. Now you understand why when criminals are arrested they will tag them IPOB; when their military kill innocent citizens, they tag them IPOB; if they arrest a prostitute they will add a Biafra flag to the picture and tag them IPOB; when Boko haram kills Nigerian military in the North, they will accuse IPOB of being responsible.
“All efforts to tarnish the image of our movement has turned against them, and we are still gaining higher grounds in our independence movement.”