The leader of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, has been accused of recruiting three soldiers dismissed from the Nigerian Army to train over 4,000 Eastern Security Network (ESN) members.
The dismissed soldiers, Linus Owalo, Godswill Steven, and Chinasa Orji, made the accusation after their arrest by operatives of the Intelligence Response Team of the Nigeria Police Force.
According to the suspects, they decided to train the ESN members after the IPOB leader made them mouth-watering, including overseas training.
The suspects also claimed that Kanu promised to make them military generals “when” the State of Biafra was achieved.
However, the suspects said they discovered that all the promises IPOB made to them were lies, adding that since helping the proscribed secessionist group to train ESN members, none of the promises had materialised.
According to The PUNCH, the trio were rounded up after the IRT, acting on intelligence, raided ESN’s hideouts in Imo, Anambra, and Delta states, as well as Abuja.
It was learned that Owalo, a 32-year-old father of two, was enlisted into the Nigerian Army in 2013 and attached to 102 Guard Brigade Battalion, but was dismissed in 2019 from the army for deserting.
His colleagues, Orji and Steven, were also enlisted into the Nigerian Army in 2015 and 2017, respectively, and were trained at 133 Special Force Battalion. But were both dismissed in 2020 and went to join the ESN to train its members in Abia and Delta states.
Confessing, Owalo said, “I was enlisted into the Nigerian Army in 2013 and posted to the Guards Brigade Headquarters, Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. But in 2019, I was absent on duty and the army authorities arrested me. I was charged and subsequently dismissed from the service.
“I was later contacted by the IPOB and moved to a forest in Abia State, where I trained over 4,000 ESN members. This was in October 2020. I also met some other dismissed soldiers of the Nigerian Army at the ESN camp. Three months into the training, I was redeployed to the ESN camp in Delta State. All this while, they didn’t allow me to speak to Nnamdi Kanu. I was just talking to his boys. I was used and brainwashed by IPOB.”
Another suspect, Steven said he joined the Nigerian Army in June 2017 and was attached to 133 Battalion, and eventually deployed in Maiduguri, Borno State, in 2018.
Steven said he was dismissed from the army for deserting his base, explaining that he left his base because he sustained injuries at the battlefront but was not allowed to go for treatment.
He said, “I was dismissed by the Nigerian Army and accepted IPOB’s offer. I was paid N100,000, which was twice the salary I was earning at the Nigerian Army. I travelled to Abia State, where Orji and I took oaths to be loyal to Nnamdi Kanu. We trained ESN in combat and special forces maneuvering.”
“I eventually left the ESN camp when it became clear that the promises made to us were not materialising.”