Unknown Gunmen: We Formed Forest Guards, Not ESN – S/East Governors
Governors in the South East states of Nigeria have affirmed that the governments formed forest guards and not Eastern Security Network, ESN, Nigerian Army always described as the Unknown Gunmen terrorizing the Southeastern part of the country.
The Southeast governors made their position known in a communique issued on Sunday after a meeting held at the Government House, Enugu State, attended by the five state governors with some represented by their deputies.
The governors reaction was in response to earlier statement credited to Peter Obi, the former Governor of Anambra State and the current Presidential Candidate of Labour Party, LP, in the forthcoming 2023 general election.
Peter Obi had, at a public event, said he could not condemn the activities of the Eastern Security Network, ESN because the group was created by the Southeastern governors.
Nigerian Army in her reports always refer to Eastern Security Network, ESN and Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB as the Unknown Gunmen terrorizing the Southeastern states.
IPOB, through its spokesperson, Emma Powerful has always refuted the Nigerian Army claim. Insisting, ESN is a security group, protecting the forests in the Southeastern states against killer Fulani herdsmen, advancing from the Northern part of Nigeria.
Adding, ESN is not Unknown Gunmen.
OsazuwaAkonedo reports that the creation of ESN, with the group seen on videos and photographs, bearing arms, especially AK-47, was never part of the items or terrorism charges leveled against the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu. Even when many expected that the creation of ESN could be tied to Mazi Nnamdi Kanu by the Federal Government.
According to the Communique, “South East Governors Forum jointly formed Ebubeagu and Forest Guards not ESN. So, it is not correct for any person to allude to fact that South East Governors created ESN”.
The Communique reads:
COMMUNIQUE ISSUED AT THE END OF THE MEETING OF SOUTH – EAST GOVERNORS FORUM (SEGF) ON SUNDAY, 30TH OCTOBER, 2022 AT GOVERNMENT HOUSE, ENUGU
(1) South East Governors Forum congratulated and welcomed His Excellency, the Governor of Anambra State, His Excellency, Prof. Charles Soludo, who was represented by His Deputy, His Excellency, Dr. Onyekachukwu G. Ibezim.
South East Governors decried the state of insecurity in the region. Our economic activities have come to a halt while kidnapping and wanton killing have become the order of the day.
South East Governors call on the Federal Government to come to our aid in providing security in the Zone bearing in mind that elections are around the corner.
Meanwhile, South East Governors have agreed to set up a 24-hour Joint Patrol in all major highways within the South East, especially during the Christmas season.
We commend the States and the Federal Government on efforts to alleviate the sufferings of the victims of the recent flood menace in the Country. We hope, however, that long term solution is desirable. South East Governors have decided to put funds together to further assist the victims of flooding in our five States in the South East.
We, also plead with the Federal Government to please initiate action in the dredging of rivers in the South East, to ameliorate the destruction of houses, farmlands and properties. We request the Federal Government to come to the aid of the victims in terms of rehabilitation of the internally displaced persons.
(4) South East Governors Forum jointly formed Ebubeagu and Forest Guards not ESN. So, it is not correct for any person to allude to fact that South East Governors created ESN.
(5) South East Governors are watching with keen interest, the developments with respect to the case of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu viz-a-viz the Court rulings. However, we believe that a political solution is still possible in this circumstance.