From Stanley Uzoaru, Owerri
The Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) has emphasised that its group is not after northerners but terrorists killing and maiming people in the South East.
IPOB Media and Publicity Secretary Emma Powerful gave the reply in a statement on Thursday debunking the allegation by Sheikh Ahmad Abubakar Gumi that herdsmen are preferable to the Eastern Security Network (ESN) and IPOB.
The cleric in his utterance comparing the two was also said to have said that the IPOB has been killing the northerners while the bandits just demand ransom.
Powerful, however, in quick defence of his group, said that there is no iota of truth to the claim by Gumi.
‘In case the self-acclaimed Islamic cleric has forgotten, may we remind him that neither IPOB nor ESN is a terrorist organisation or Killers like his bandit clients and allies. Spilling of blood is never part of our mandate,’ Powerful said.
Powerful clarifying further said: ‘ESN is a child of necessity created for the defence of our ancestral land against terrorists and killer herdsmen wreaking havoc across our communities. ESN is only defending our hapless mothers and sisters who have been raped, maimed and attacked without any justification by Fulani herdsmen.
‘Since December 2020 when ESN was set up by our leader, these vampires have been on the run because of the heat from our gallant operatives across Biafran forests. For Sheikh Gumi who never gave a hoot while killer herdsmen rampaged our communities to try to twist the fact now is not only mischief but an act of terror itself,’ Powerful stated.
He insisted that IPOB has not harmed any northerner: ‘No Northern in any part of Biafra land can prove that he/she has at any time been attached by IPOB or ESN. We are only chasing terrorists and bandits behind killings and kidnapping for ransom in our land.
‘Gumi should be ashamed that an Islamic cleric as he claims has suddenly become a mouthpiece for bandits and terrorists. Why does Gumi have a special interest in bandits and terrorists is an indication that he is a terrorist but has never shown any empathy to their victims of other Nigerians.
‘Why is Gumi always advocating for terrorists and negotiating with them but never advanced the cause of victims of terror? What does Sheikh Gunmi have in common with bandits and terrorists.’
Powerful has also accused Gumi of using his comments to blackmail IPOB in order to continue military presence in the South East.
‘Gumi is only trying to blackmail IPOB and ESN with his fabricated propaganda he is, that we are attacking Northerners so as to provide more justification for his Fulani terrorist security agencies in Nigeria uniforms to come after innocent people as they are currently doing.
‘This terror sympathiser wants to lessen the heat on his boys by instigating the security agencies against us. Can you see why Sheikh Gunmi should be arrested for investigations and interrogations?
‘We want to put the world on notice that Sheikh Gumi is the main sponsor of banditry and terrorism in Nigeria. He should be made to face the consequences of his actions. For holding talks with terrorists and championing their cause, he has a case to answer in the atrocities
‘But we promise Gumi and his likes that no amount of distraction will make us back down on our resolve to restore Biafra, and defend our ancestral land against invasion by Fulani jihadists. We are formidable and we won’t give up on this mandate. ESN will not allow any person to occupy our forests again,’ Powerful emphasised.