A clearly factionalized Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) has alleged that Simon Ekpa and his “gang” are enforcing the sit-at-home order in the south-east despite cancellation of the order.
The proscribed group has been blamed for the recent attacks on residents and security operatives under the guise of enforcing a sit-at-home order in the region.
Despite the attack, the group has, however, maintained that reports linking it or its security outfit, Eastern Security Network (ESN), to the attacks are false.
Simon Ekpa, a self-acclaimed disciple of Nnamdi Kanu, leader of IPOB, rose to prominence in July 2021, after he was announced as the lead broadcaster of Radio Biafra.
It would be recalled that the sit-at-home order was introduced by IPOB to protest the detention of Kanu, who is standing trial for alleged treason and terrorism.
Although the proscribed separatist group suspended the order in September 2021, there have been reports of forceful, sometimes violent, enforcement by suspected thugs in the region.
In a statement issued on Friday, Emma Powerful, IPOB’s spokesperson, said enemies of the group are responsible for the attacks.
“We the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, under the leadership of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, wish to tell Governor Chukwuma Soludo of Anambra State that IPOB is not responsible for the criminality in Southeast, including Anambra State,” the statement reads.
“The Governor should know that our enemies are committing atrocities using our name in their desperation to blackmail IPOB.
“It is a certain Simon Ekpa and his criminal gang called autopilots that are carrying out threats against people’s lives because of non-existent Monday sit-at-home are criminals, kidnappers and robbers.
“These people disturbing the peace of our people are not IPOB members. They should be treated as criminals. IPOB doesn’t shed blood. We are a peaceful movement.
“We wish to reiterate once again that IPOB has cancelled Monday sit-at-home order and anybody or group enforcing the relaxed order is neither from IPOB nor from IPOB volunteer group. Any governor in the region who deemed it fit to stop non-existent Monday sit-at-home order in the region is free to do so.
“Anyone caught adding to the pain of our people in the name of enforcing Monday sit-at-home order will be treated like the enemy that he or she is.
“Why should such unpatriotic elements be inflicting pain on our people and dragging our image to the mud? IPOB remains a non-violent movement and our peaceful approach for Biafra restoration has not changed.