The Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, has claimed some criminals parading themselves as operatives of the Eastern Security Network, ESN, are extorting people of the Southeast.
According to the secessionist group, the criminals are asking pastors and reverend fathers to pay between N50 million to N100 million or risk getting their churches burnt.
IPOB via its spokesman, Emma Powerful, made the claim while denying reports that ESN operates a recruitment camp in Enugu Ezike.
A statement by the group reads partly: “We the global family and movement of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) ably led by the great leader Mazi Nnamdi KANU wish to reiterate once again to the general public, especially the people of Enugu Ezike, that those in their community and other parts terrorizing them are not IPOB volunteers or ESN operatives.
“The Eastern Security Network (ESN) stopped recruiting personnel since two years ago. Therefore, anybody deceiving and parading himself or herself as joined ESN recently is working with infiltrators and will die in the hands of the Nigeria government and its security agencies.
“ESN operatives under IPOB-DOS knew from the time immemorial that Nigeria Government and its security Agencies are our enemies and we have mastered strategies of handling these enemies.
“We discovered that those responsible for the recent insecurities going on in Enugu Ezike and other communities are hoodlums that were recruited by auto-piloters who were driven out of Anambra and Imo States. These hoodlums found their way to Enugu Ezike through their henchmen called Chocho and Ejiofor.
“These guys relocated to Enugu to continue their criminalities in these villages. Though they deceitfully recruited some of the bad guys of those communities who thought they were joining ESN. But what they don’t know is that IPOB is not an organization for criminals and we never recruited criminals into ESN.
“But these criminals has ended up using the same youths for criminalities instead of fighting insecurities and Fulani bandits masquerading as herdsmen and terrorizing that Aguibeje bush and forests which has a border with Akpanya Community in Kogi state which IPOB-ESN is protecting.
“They have recruited lots of criminals terrorizing their own people, Innocent citizens and residents of the area by snatching of cars, bikes, kidnapping for ransom and calling some notable clergymen on phone such as Pastors and Rev Fathers, threatening them to pay some amount of cash to them raging from #50M to 100M or risk their church auditorium burnt to ashes. Some of these clergymen out of fear are complying and paying money to these criminals.”