• Allegations of deployment of Gunboats and Helicopter Gunships False .
• Says, Journalists can visit SE for verification.
By Chris Odinaka Nwedo
A coalition of different groups in the South East has denied media report that the Nigerian Army deployed gun trucks and helicopter to the region to track down the camp of Eastern Security Network (ESN) and possibly arrest its members.
The group insisted that the report of heavy presence of soldiers as well as hovering of army surveillance helicopter in the South East to identify ESN operation centre,recently launched by the leader of Indigenous People of Biafra,IPOB,Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, specifically published by an online medium,SaharaReporters, was completely false.
The conglomerate of South East groups,operating under the umbrella of Coalition of Igbo Groups Worldwide,in a statement, Thursday, while wondering the intension of what it called “the fake report”, asked Nigerians to disregard it in its entirety.
Alleging that the action was part of campaigns of calumny against the Nigerian Army in particular and the Nigerian state in general by the duo of Mr Omoyele Sowore, publisher of SaharaReporters and Nnamdi Kanu, the IPOB leader, the coalition appealed to Nigerians to disregard the report.
The national coordinators of the affiliate groups who signed the statement, were
Mrs Achike Ezeife for South East Mothers Forum; Barr. Uche Ude for Ndigbo Progressive Youth Vangurd;Mazi Osigwe for Igbo Unity Congress;Deaconess Grace Ejike for
South East Market Women Vanguard and
Pastor Andy Okoro for the South East Youth Network, respectively.
The coalition accused SaharaReporters’ publisher and Nnamdi Kanu of planting the report with the aim of discrediting the Nigerian Army and set the gullible reading public against the federal government.
Recalling what it described as “constant false report Mr Sowore was churning against the Nigerian state” the coalition said it was not surprised at the latest one by the Publisher of SaharaReporters as according to it, Sowore like Nnamdi Kanu, were engaging in what they are doing to claim their money from their paymasters, who they alleged,were using them as agents to destabilize the country.
According to the coalition, Sowore’s ceaseless campaigns against the country especially President Muhammad Buhari and his administration stemmed from anger he is still nursing over his failed presidential bid in the 2019 general elections.
“We are aware that his failed presidential ambition is still hurting him and he’s venting his frustration on President Muhammadu Buhari.”
“The antecedents of Sowore, the Convener of the failed #RevolurionNow Movement could not inspire meaningful people. This latest false report is part of his grand plan to set Nigerians against the government with a view of destabilising the country for personal agenda.
” Nigerians of goodwill have already known the character, disposition and antecedent of the person at the centre of this. They won’t fall for his antics,”it added.
The group said in the statement:”Our attention has been drawn to yet another concocted, false and malicious report alleging deployment of personnel, gun trucks and surveillance helicopter to the South East to track down the Eastern Security Network camp and possibly arrest members.
” Ordinarily, we would have ignored this report but for the misconception which it would create in the minds of the reading public, we,chose not to be on the fence given especially that we are fully aware of developments on ground here in our region and communities.
“We wish to unequivocally refute this brazen allegation in its entirety as it seeks to to set Nigerians against the Nigerian Army as well as the Nigerian state,thus fulfilling the motive for which its handlers had set to achieve.”
The group spoke further:”Every aspect of that allegation is not true. Sowore in collaboration with Nnamdi Kanu are on campaign of calumny against the federal government. We are not speaking for the Nigerian Army nor the federal government but we wish to say here emphatically that nobody is after the Eastern Security Network going by our independent findings.
“The truth is that Nigerian government has engaged South East governors to mediate by talking to their youths to drop arms.
“So, it is unfair for SaharaReporters to be carrying lies against the Nigerian Army and by extension the federal government, making Nigerians to look at them as aggressors This is not fair to a security agency working so hard to ensure safety of Nigeria and the citizens.
“Like we said,it is not true, nobody is pursing Eastern Security Network. What they have done for now is engaging with Eastern governors, traditional rulers and stakeholders to see how they can talk to their youths to drop their guns.
“It is not true, there is no deployment of troops in our communities. Our communities are peaceful, we have not seen any helicopter hovering in our communities.”
In the statement, the coalition further explained: “We are direct members of our communities in Igbo land and not diaspora bigots like Nnamdi Kanu and Sowere. We can authoritatively say that there is no troops in our forests looking for anybody, talk more of looking for members of Eastern Security Network or anyone.
” Contrary the report also, we insist here that there is no helicopter and gun truck anywhere here in South East searching for anybody. The allegation is a mere propaganda and just the figment of the imagination of these enemies of Nigeria in their continuous campaigns of calumny against the Nigerian state and President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration.”
According to the group,”They are raising this allegation against the Nigeria Army and the Nigeria state just to attract sympathy and justify the funds they are collecting from some foreign donors to destabilize our country.”
“But let us remind the Ndigbo that nobody is more Nigerian than Igbo. No single tribe has the kind of business and investment scattered across Nigeria like Igbos and we must not fall prey to antics of these selfish persons who are making their personal money using us,” the statement added.
The Coalition of Igbo Groups Worldwide challenged the duo:”Let Nnamdi Kanu and Sowore relocate their families to Nigeria, to live here with us. It is only by so doing that we can begin to take them serious.”
The group called on interested persons or groups to carry out independent investigations in the South East region with a view to undertaking an assessment of the situation in the zone, saying the outcome of their findings would confirm its position as contained in the statement.
“We are calling on interested persons or groups to carry out independent investigations in the South East; visit the communities and see for themselves the true situation there,” it urged.