From Stanley Uzoaru, Owerri

The Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) has denied that Awurum Eze, recently arrested by the IGP’s Intelligence Response Team (ITR) in Aba, Abia State, is the second-in-command to the slain Eastern Security Network (ESN) Commander, Ikonso.

According to a statement by the media and publicity secretary for the separatist group, Emma Powerful, it mocked the security operatives, claiming that the arrested gang leader is too old to be recruited into the ESN, let alone to have been deputising for Ikonso .

According to the statement: ‘Our great leader, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, read with utter amusement, media reports of claims by the Nigeria Army that it arrested Ikonso’s Second in Command in Aba. This is a blatant lie and a cheap propaganda to lay false claims to imaginary military prowess.

‘The said man is not an operative of ESN. Such a man is too old to be recruited into ESN let alone being Ikonso’s Second in Command.’

It further reads: ‘The Nigeria security agents should stop making mockery of themselves. Arrest of innocent Biafrans and labelling them ESN operatives cannot make you overpower our gallant ESN operatives.

‘That you ambushed Ikonso with the help of some traitors did not mean you have crushed ESN. Stop claiming what you have not done in your bid to win public accolades. If you arrest or kill Ikonso’s second in Command we will not hesitate to admit it just the same way we did not deny the murder of Ikonso.

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‘We are not like Nigeria that lives in propaganda; we tell the truth always. So, stop harassing innocent Biafrans in the name of manhunt for ESN personnel.’

IPOB claimed that the said Awurum was framed up by his traditional ruler, who allegedly roped him in as a member of ESN.

‘Our background check revealed that the said man had issues with his traditional ruler who gave his contact to the security agents alleging that he belongs to ESN. He is not our own.

‘We are assuring them that whatever they do they cannot win ESN in this fight for freedom. The secret killing and abduction can never make IPOB change our resolve towards restoring Biafra as independent nation.

‘Again, we wish to remind Biafrans and the world, of a grand plot by the Nigeria security agencies to reduce Biafra population through the on-going secret abductions and killings of innocent Biafrans after tagging them IPOB and ESN members.

‘This wicked plot which started in Imo State is now gaining momentum across the entire Biafra land through the collaboration of some traitors.

‘Biafrans of all age brackets are now at the mercy of the double-faced Nigeria security agents as all they need to arrest and kill them off is to brand them ESN operative or sponsor,’ Powerful alleged.