Insecurity In South East: Facts And Fallacies

The security situation in one of the known peaceful part of Nigeria, South East, has been a source of serious concerns to many Nigerians. The region was relatively peaceful until June, 2021, when the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, was brought to Nigeria from Kenya where he was captured and illegally extradited to Nigeria by the combined efforts of Nigerian and Kenyan Government.

Since Kanu’s detention in the custody of the Department of States Services, DSS, insecurity in the South Eastern region has continued to fester.

IPOB and its security arm, the Eastern Security Network, ESN, have always been blamed by the Federal Government for any act of attack in the region, but the secessionist group has severally denied the allegations by the government.

Nigerian Police And IPOB

Nigerian police had on May 2021 launched the ‘Operation Restore Peace’ targeted at the secessionist organization.

Frank Mba, the police spokesman, had stated that the Inspector General of Police pointed out that the operation which was to be carried out in conjunction with other security operatives was aimed at putting a stop to the alleged murderous attacks and weapon proliferation by IPOB in the region.

According to Mba: “the IGP noted that the special operation has become necessary to engender all-inclusive security actions to roll-back the murderous attacks, violence, proliferation of weapons and other threats to law and order occasioned by the separatist agenda being heightened by the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and its armed wing, the Eastern Security Network (ESN) in the South-East region.

“The IGP observed that activities of the group in the region have assumed an armed dimension in which important political and community leaders, as well as personnel and assets of the Nigeria Police, Military and other security agencies, critical national infrastructure, are being constantly targeted in clearly well-coordinated, premeditated manners.

“This is in addition to deepening inter-ethnic prejudice and intolerance, unjustifiable inter-ethnic violence and counter-violence, loss of lives and massive destruction of properties.”

Virtually every attack in South East is blamed on IPOB by the government.

The killing of a former aide to Ex-president Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, Ahmed Gulak, was blamed on the group, an allegation which the secessionist group vehemently denied.

IPOB similarly takes the blame for attacks on security establishments and government property in the South Eastern region.

Also, the killings in Eha-Amufu community in Enugu state is also attributed to the group, but IPOB has denied the allegations.

IPOB had in a recent statement, blamed Nigerian security operatives for the Killings in Eha-Amufu community.

The Group had alleged that Nigerian soldiers were caught on camera celebrating with the killer herdsmen after a successful attack that led to displacement of many residents of the community.

The Autopilot Group

There’s a group known as the Autopilot group claiming to be fighting for the freedom of Biafra in the South East. This group is led by a Finnish based Nigerian citizen, Simon Ekpa. This group, through its leader, has never hidden its intentions to wreak havoc on South East residents who failed to comply with sit-at-home orders, even when IPOB has not approved of it.

Investigations have revealed that the Autopilot group has been behind the attacks that accompany non-compliance with the Monday lockdown which Nnamdi Kanu’s led IPOB has called off on several occasions.

Ekpa who is a self-acclaimed disciple of Kanu, had threatened South East residents with violence if they failed to obey any sit-at-home order given by them.

IPOB had dissociated itself from the activities of Ekpa and his group, renouncing him as their member.

Ohanaeze Ndigbo had, in a statement on December last year, vowed to collaborate with relevant organizations and the Finnish embassy in Nigeria to have Ekpa extradited to the country in order to face charges on the killings and destructions of property in Igboland.

“Ndigbo will liaise with relevant organisations, Finish Embassy in Nigeria, and Nigerians in the Diaspora to seek extradition of Ekpa to Nigeria to face prosecution and trials over killings of Southeasterners, burning of public properties, and disturbances of public peace,” says Ohaneze, according to the Guardian.

IPOB Declared Innocent

However, stakeholders in the South East had severally released statements absolving IPOB of all responsibility for the insecurity in the region.

The Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, Abia state chapter, had blamed politicians in the South East for the insecurity in the region.

Apostle Christopher Agumuo, the Chairman of CAN in Abia state, disclosed this in a statement released earlier last year.

“I don’t think IPOB is behind this barbarity. These are the bad boys politicians use for election. After using them, they fail to empower them and that is why they go back into criminality. Politicians who recruit these hoodlums are to be held responsible for the mess in the South-East,” says the CAN Chairman.

Similarly, the Executive Governor of Imo state Hope Uzodimma, had blamed Politicians for the killings in the region, especially in Imo state.

In a press statement last year, the Imo number one citizen blamed the opposition People’s Democratic Party, PDP, for the killings in Imo state.

“I pray that God will touch the hearts of these people who are sponsoring the killing of innocent ones, burning houses and destroying public property in the name of politics.

“I have crosschecked since the inception of this mindless blood-letting in Orlu, Orsu and other communities in the zone, not one Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, a person has died, their houses burnt or attacked.

“It is clear to me, therefore, that these killings are the handiwork of politicians who are after the APC members,” Uzodinma stated according to Daily Post.

The Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria, HURIWA had also called on the military to desist from blaming IPOB for all attacks in the South East, urging them to first carry out investigations before coming into conclusions on the attacks.

The group stated that some government officials, including political leaders could be responsible for the attacks.

Reports from some south East Residents have revealed that Fulani herdsmen, Some security operatives are part of the problem in the South Eastern region.


From the foregoing reports, it’s obvious that most media publications by the Nigerian police and the military do not represent the true situation of things in the South East.

Solving the problem of insecurity in Igboland can only begin by identifying the real source of the threat to the region, and to achieve that, sincerity and honesty must be the watchword of those in the forefront of efforts to restore normalcy in the Eastern region