From Stanley Uzoaru, Owerri
The Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) has responded to a claim by the Department of State Security (DSS) that the Eastern Security Network (ESN) is plotting to attack banks in part of the South-East.
In a statement by its spokesman, Emma Powerful, IPOB noted that ESN does not need to rob any bank to buy firearms for the security oufit, boasting that their weapons are manufactured locally.
According to the report, the ESN is alleged to be plotting to attack banks in order to finance the purchase of weapons. IPOB, denying the allegation, responded that the DSS is spreading ‘fabricated propaganda’ to blackmail the group, with a counter-allegation that the DSS are sponsoring criminals and falsely identifying them as ESN members.
The statement reads:
‘Our intelligence unit has uncovered a fabricated propaganda by the Department of State Services DSS, that Eastern Security Network, ESN is planning to attack banks in Biafraland to acquire money to purchase arms.
‘DSS is propelling this wicked propaganda all in a bid to blackmail ESN and IPOB, and dent our global reputation.
‘We, therefore, wish to debunk this falsehood and blatant lie from the pit of hell. IPOB and ESN are not criminals and we have no plans or agenda to touch any institution particularly banks.
‘We are not looking for money to buy arms because we produce our arms locally and cannot attack or kidnap anybody for ransom. We don’t inflict pains on the people we are fighting for their freedom. DSS must stop this rubbish and engage their time on something more meaningful. This poor script cannot fly.
‘IPOB and ESN are very disciplined groups, and we cannot indulge in armed robbery against any individual or group. ESN has never left its mandate which is to defend Biafra land against Fulani terrorists and killer herdsmen.
‘All banks in Biafraland must be wary of DSS because it is possible they are planning to sponsor attacks on banks and turn around as usual to blame it on IPOB and ESN operatives.
‘The double-faced Nigerian security agencies have been staging this kind of attacks in so many places and later point accusing fingers at IPOB and ESN.
‘They have tried to blame the attacks on security formations in South’East on us but now it is obvious that we are innocent of that, they have quickly changed tact in their desperation to blackmail us and find cheap excuse to declare another special military operation in the zone. Our people should be smart and not buy into their tricks.’
The IPOB spokesman warned criminals attempting to attack any bank in the South-East to be prepared to face the ESN.
‘We are waiting for any group of armed robbers who would attempt to attack any bank in Biafraland in attempt to tarnish the reputation of IPOB and ESN. Such band of criminals and their sponsors will regret their action.
‘We assure every resident and institution, including banks in Biafraland of their safety. We will help resist these criminals the DSS is arranging to attack banks in the name of ESN and IPOB,’ Powerful stated.