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FACT CHECK: Is it true that south east governors form ESN as Obi claimed?




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The presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP), Peter Obi claimed that the Eastern Security Network (ESN) was formed by governors in the south-east.

The claim was reportedly made by the presidential candidate on Monday, October 15, 2022, at an interactive session organised by Arewa Joint Committee in Kaduna.

A member of the audience via a video captured at the event had asked “why should the north trust you, when you have never for once, to my hearing, condemned the sit-at-home on Mondays in the south-east?” 

“Why should the north trust you, when, even recently, your campaign council that you constituted, for Sokoto and several states in the north, the chairman of your campaign organizations were Igbo men?

“Why should the north trust you, when I’ve not heard you, perhaps you’ve said it somewhere but I’ve not heard you categorically condemn IPOB, Eastern Security Network (ESN) and their activities?” the member of the audience asked. 

Peter Obi while responding said there was no way he could condemn the activities of the ESN since it was formed by the government of the eastern states.

“You’ve not been following my campaign. The Eastern Security Network was formed by the government of eastern states. The governors formed the security team, how can I go and condemn them? I’ve spoken about sit-at-home and I can tell you there was even a place they mentioned me. Everything I say, go and verify…”

But how true is the claim about the formation of the ESN?

VERIFICATION

A check by WITHIN NIGERIA revealed that the Eastern Security Network was formed by the leader of Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu in December 2020.

The secession group, IPOB which was established in 2012 by Nnamdi Kanu had continually pushed for the establishment of a sovereign state for the people of the south-east extraction, over claims of marginalisation.

Kanu while addressing his teeming followers on December 13, 2020 announced the launch of the security outfit.

He had said its primary responsibility is to protect the south-east from terrorists and other criminal elements.

Recall that there had been reports of invasion of farmlands by suspected armed Fulani herdsmen in the region prior to the establishment of the security outfit by Nnamdi Kanu

However, Nnamdi Kanu during his announcement likened the outfit to Amotekun in the Southwest and Miyetti-Allah in the northern region. 

He further noted that the failure of the south-east governors to secure the lives and property of the Igbo people led to the formation of the security network.

WHAT SOUTH-EAST GOVERNORS ESTABLISHED?

Governors of the southeast region in 2021 established a joint security outfit codenamed Ebube Agu, “to tackle insecurity in the region”.

Dave Umahi, governor of Ebonyi, who spoke on behalf of the other governors said the establishment of the outfit was owing to the worsening security crisis in the region. 

“The meeting resolved to maintain a joint security vigilante for the south-east otherwise known as Ebube Agu. The meeting appreciated the formation of south-east joint security outfit codenamed ‘Ebube Agu’ — headquarters in Enugu to coordinate our vigilante in the south-east,” Umahi said. 

VERDICT

The claim of Peter Obi that Eastern Security Network (ESN) was formed by the governors of eastern states is false, misleading and untrue. Such claim should be discarded.

The governors of eastern states formed Ebube Agu not Eastern Security Network (ESN).

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