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Review IPOB ban, ex-SSS director tells Buhari

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FORMER Director of the State Security Service (SSS) Mike Ejiofor has advised President Muhammadu Buhari to review his proscription of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).

Ejiofor made the call when he appeared as a guest on Arise TV ‘Morning Show’ on Thursday.

He said the Federal Government should engage leaders of the South-East region, the interest of which the group claims to represent, in meaningful discussion to stop the unrest in the region, with consequential effects on overwhelming insecurity in the country.

Ejiofor, who said Nigeria was drifting into anarchy because of dimension insecurity was taking across the nation, opposed the call for a state of emergency as advocated by the National Assembly last Tuesday, saying that government should accord more priority to security by seeking help from other countries and investing more in technologies and intelligence.

IPOB created the Eastern Security Network, its security arm, with a view to stopping herders and other criminals in the South-East. It is also seeking secession of the South-East from Nigeria.

The group was proscribed by Nigeria’s government in 2017.However, the group, led by fugitive Nnamdi Kanu, did not agree with the proscription, but has continued with its secessionists activities.

Muhammadu Buhari
File Copy: President Muhammadu Buhari

Since the formation of the group, there have been recurring attacks on security formations, police officers, soldiers and civilians in the region.

The SSS had, on Wednesday, accused IPOB of importing bombs into the South-East, among other allegations.

The group had also alleged that the secret police (SSS) was planning to attack banks in the region and blame its members for the crime.

Fielding questions on state of on insecurity in Nigeria from Arise TV programme anchors, Ejiofor said he had warned the Federal Government against the proscription of the IPOB.

He said injustices were the reasons insecurity was escalating in the country. “Take South- East, for instance, there is agitation for IPOB and they formed Eastern Security Network (ESN) and I warned in 2017 that the consequences of proscribing IPOB would be greater than IPOB itself.

“They were proscribed, and they went underground. When they went underground, it (IPOB) became difficult to handle. Government can now reconsider the issues of the proscription, call the elders of the South-East. Let us sit down. What are the grievances? What are the issues? Put them on the table so that we discuss.”

READ ALSOThose burning police stations in South-East are hired bandits, not IPOB -Umahi

He also said there were different forms of injustice in every region of the country that called for immediate redress.

He said the earlier the government intervened, the better the nation would get out of the precipice.

Speaking on calls for state of emergency by the National Assembly and other Nigerians, Ejiofor said he did not believe in state of emergency because the president could select some parts of the country for the emergency situation while people would read different meanings to his decision.

He explained that government should only be more serious in dealing with issues causing insecurity, rather than acquiring armaments.

Nnamdi Kanu
Nnamdi Kanu

He noted that what he expected the National Assembly to do was to create state police, given the diversity of challenges in the country, stressing that nobody was spared of insecurity in the nation following the toll it was taking.

He also argued that military approach alone to dealing with the challenge would not yield desired results “because except you want to kill everybody, we cannot continue to rely on military, but the greatest challenge we’re facing is this issue of kidnapping and ransom payment, which I think the government should deploy the necessary technologies.”

Insecurity has worsened in Nigeria in recent months with banditry, kidnapping, farmer-herder crisis and guerilla war ravaging the country.

Ejiofor said it was time the president addressed Nigerians to raise their confidence.

“This is a very critical time that people should hear from the president, build confidence and visit some of the areas where we have the challenges. He is our president,” he further said.

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