Ebonyi State Governor, Dave Umahi, has distanced members of Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and Eastern Security Network (ESN) from recurring attacks on facilities belonging to Nigeria Police Force (NPF) across South-East states.
He added that though the recent attacks were saddening and stand condemned, it was important for Nigerians to see beyond the surface and understands that some criminal elements were only exploiting the IPOB and ESN agitations to carry out the attacks and frame the groups for it.
The governor noted that some criminals are committing crimes under the guise of the two groups and were trying to put the entire region in bad light and make it ungovernable following the demands of IPOB and ESN.
Umahi, in an interview on a popular television show on Thursday, maintained that since there were collective challenges of bandits across Nigeria, it was wrong for attacks on police formations in the region to be attributed to IPOB and ESN.
He added that since the two groups have come out at different point to denounce terrorism and distanced themselves from the recurring attacks, it was important for relevant stakeholders to embark on thorough investigation and make the result public rather than resorting to blame games.
“The truth of what is happening is that there are bandits everywhere; there are cultists everywhere. What happens now in the South-East is that criminals who may not necessarily be members of IPOB and ESN, will go and commit crimes and they need a name.
“So it’s safer for them to say they are members of ESN, and IPOB so that the persecution of IPOB and ESN by the Federal Government will cover them.
“That is what is happening in South-East because IPOB and ESN have a number of times come out to say they are not into terrorism and violence, and the people burning police stations and killing are not their members. And so how do you reconcile the two?” he said.
Furthermore, the governor urged South-East governors to rise against the ugly trend of attacks on security outfits especially police stations in the region.
“It is a monster that we must not allow to arise in the South-East. When they finish with that (attacking police stations) they will start attacking stakeholders to kill them,” Umahi said.