It is no longer news the South East region of Nigeria has become the epicenter of violence in the country owing to activities of unknown gun men who have attacked police and military formations for the last seven months – resulting in deaths of over 154 uniformed security men and dozens of burnt police stations and offices belonging to the Independent National Electoral Commission [INEC].
Information made available to 247ureports.com from sources knowledgeable of the ongoing talks between the leadership of the Indigenous Peoples Of Biafra [IPOB] and select leaders of the South East acting on behalf of the South East Governors – indicates the South East Governors may have buckled under pressure – and has changed their posture towards IPOB and ESN – to the extent they have made proposals to the proscribed Biafra agitator group for them to change the name of their security group from Eastern Security Network to Ebubeagu Security Network.
Under the proposal, the State Governors would allow the IPOB to operate the security outfit without interference from the State government. The IPOB would be allowed to operate and manage the security of the entire south east – in return for the IPOB changing the name of the outfit to a less contemptuous one. The name change would legalize the outfit – and also allow the State government to ease off the restraints placed on the group. The move would get the federal government “off their backs”.
The game plan according to our source is – the name change will enable the Governors the leverage to claim the ESN has been routed out of the south east and that the problem of ESN/IPOB has been solved. And, that Ebubeagu has replaced ESN.
But the ESN/IPOB leadership are not buying into the game plan owing largely to distrust and a perceived conflict of interest. The leadership of IPOB view the intentions of the South East Governors as deceptive and not sincere. “The interests of these Governors are not the safety of our people. Rather, their concern is appeasement of their northern friends in Abuja. We don’t want any hand in it”.
Even though the South East have been using well respected personalities like the former Governor of Anambra State, Chukwuemeka Ezeife “Okwadike” of Igbo Ukwu, Aguata Local Government Area to reach out to the leadership of IPOB, the talks have yet to yield desired results. The newly sworn in head of Ohaneze Ndigbo, Obiozor along with other leaders have also been reported to be participating in the talks.
According to a source who claims to be amongst the leadership of IPOB – who spoke to 247ureports.com from United Kingdom – the talks with the Governors who have been fruitful if they had played heed to the call by the leader of IPOB when he wrote to the South East Governor proposing the concept of a Security Network for the entire south east. The Governors disregarded the proposal and instead proscribed the group.
“This Ebubeagu was formed out of shame. It was not genuine. Our people know”, said the source who also added that the formation of ESN was necessitated due to the rate of infiltration of supposed Fulani herdsmen from Benue State into South East and South South regions. “The rate was alarming, and the South East Governors knew this information but were not willing to act. We had to act. And, we informed them before acting”.
Unfortunately, what further exacerbates the situation for the South East Governors is the boiling situation in Imo State where the Governor, Hope Uzodinma had invited the heavy artillery on the streets of the State – killing indiscriminately both pregnant women and elderly women. This action has angered the general population of the South East both home and abroad, and has further emboldened the members of ESN to continue to resist the infiltration of the South East by killer Fulani.
Also, the Governors have been having difficulties recruiting members into the Ebubeagu. It is reported the youths of the South East prefer joining the ESN over the Ebubeagu security outfit – partly out of fear of confronting ESN, and partly out of the believe that the Ebubeagu has another ulterior motive different from that of the south east.
The Uzodinma administration has since abandoned the idea of Ebubeagu. Governor of Abia State, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu has halted recruiting exercises for Ebubeagu.
On the Federal Government angle, sources within the various south eastern state administration reveal to 247ureports.com the federal government have threatened to descend heavily on the State with federal troops. “They want to send large numbers of troops” into the streets of all the remaining four states – should the situation continue to worsen. “The governors don’t want their states to become what Imo has become“. Thus, the push to settle with leadership of IPOB.