Southeast: IPOB/ESN should unmask the “Unknown Gunmen” or disband

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By Ifeanyi Izeze

The security situation in the Southeast of Nigeria (Igboland) has become grossly troubling to say the least and the worst of it is that the government (both the southeast states and federal) seem not to be doing enough or even doing anything at all.

How come senseless killings and massacre of innocent indigenes of the area no longer draw attention from leaders in the region even the so called liberation movements including MASSOB, IPOB and ESN? What’s really going on in Igboland?

Whether they want to hear this or not, what is happening in the southeast is an outcome of the gross failure of IPOB, ESN and MASSOB in their avowed campaign to correct years of perceived ill treatment of the Igbos by the central government. What’s the real essence of these groups in the area if they cannot protect or rather defend the people they are agitating to free from perceived oppression or rather marginalisation by the central government?

What kind of liberation movements are they that they are folding their hands and watching their people (innocent, apolitical) killed as fowls and the entire region turned into a killing field by people that has remained mysterious and sinisterly described as unknown gunmen?

Every right thinking Igbo person would have expected the agitation movements to be on top of their games and not allow any group whether government or individuals destabilise and rubbish whatever the agitators think they are campaigning for, but this has not been the case. Instead whoever is responsible for the spate of killing has obviously succeeded in turning the people of the area against the self-acclaimed liberators.

When this madness started, the government made Nigerians including the Igbos believe the killings were being carried out by the Eastern Security Network and its parent IPOB as an act of civil disobedience in protest against the continued detention of their leader Mazi Nnamdi Kanu.

Though the conduct of some of the IPOB/ESN operatives in some areas gives credence to the allegations of complicity, my question is, should IPOB be so daft to kill innocent and most times harmless people in Igbo communities just to pressure the federal government to release Kanu? The narrative doesn’t add up at all!

It is glaring that whoever is doing the killings, is out to make a statement and send a message that borders heavily of discrediting the people and their alleged liberators.

There was a video that went viral on the internet/social media last week. In it, people dressed as ESN operatives were seen terrifying some community people for failing to assist them with some palliatives. In the video, the militants who laid their captives facedown were shooting sporadically into the air and shouting abuses in Igbo against these women and children that refused to help them despite the fact that the operatives were fighting for the indigenous people. On the surface, the video would have passed as the “usual atrocities of ESN” in Igbo villages but for some definite lines that gave it up as “staged” to discredit the liberation group. Anybody who has been involved in propaganda would see the real intention of the theatrics in the act.

Every section of this country has its defining attributes that are tied to their cultural background and generic believe of the people. And whether anybody wants to hear this or not, the Igbos don’t kill for killing sake or to make a point especially when they don’t have any dispute or tussle of any sort with the victims except in some cases of armed robbery. But what we see going on in the Southeast is killing for no reason or for reasons of instilling fear and creating blanket aura of insecurity in the entire area though some states are worse than others.

Several intelligence had emerged on the identity of those behind the unexplained killings of innocent folks across the region, some very casual, most very cogent. And in all, the blame for continued existence of this pathetic situation in the area rests solely on the failure of the so called liberation/agitation groups to rise up and put a stop to the crime against ordinary Igbo people. Who are they agitating for or rather who do want to liberate, is it these people that are being killed every day? Whether they agree or not, they’ve not done enough to reverse the ugly tide by going all out to unmask the actual people responsible for this heinous crime, that’s if they are not responsible because that’s a possibility too.

Also it has been said that there is definitely an official government involvement in the massacre to discredit the agitation groups particularly IPOB/ESN and paint terrible pictures of the group in the eyes of the people they claim to be fighting for. At the slightest opportunities, the federal and some state governments in the Southeast had at different times accused the so called liberation groups but one thing is sure, the evolution in character of the killings points heavily to acts that are well organised and coordinated that even the IPOB/ESN cannot boast of having the sophistication to execute with the clinical finesse we’ve seen exhibited.

In all, the killings that are happening in the southeast is a result of the complete failure of the IPOB/ESN in pursuing whatever mission they claimed to represent. Let’s even say the government is involved, do you guys as a liberation movement fold your hands and watch helplessly without even the slightest effort to truly unmask (not propaganda or mere political accusation) those actually behind the unknown gunmen menace in your so called territory? Invariably it means you are not even serious or rather don’t mean well and at worst ill-prepared for the mission you’ve embarked on.

The people that carry out these heinous crimes in Igboland, do they come from outer space and retire back there after the killings? So how come you only hear about them after they have killed your people and disappeared? It means you guys have zero intelligence gathering and processing capability and if that be, how can you call yourselves serious-minded agitators.

Even when the alleged Fulani herdsmen were massacring communities in Enugu, Ebonyi and the rest, one would have expected IPOB/ESN to be at the forefront of defending the people and making sure such gruesome bloodlettings were not allowed anywhere in Igboland but this were not to be so.

My counsel to IPOB/ESN is to rise up and restore peace and sanity within the areas they claimed they want to liberate and if they cannot, they should disband forthwith because the senseless killings of precious lives in the region is being perpetrated and blamed on them. We are saying enough is enough of this madness.  Igbo buh Igbo ekenemunuh!

  • Mr. Izeze is a Columnist with National Daily Newspaper and can be reached on: email: [email protected]; Phone: 234-8033043009

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