How we trained IPOB ESN men – Dismissed soldiers

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11 Min Read

Owalo

By Ben Ekezie
Operatives of Force Intelligence Response Team (IRT) have arrested three dismissed soldiers who were alleged to have taken part in the training of members of Eastern Security Network, ESN, the armed wing of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB.
The suspects who were identified as Linus Owalo, Godswill Steven and Chinaza Orji, were arrested recently after operatives of the Intelligence Response Team (IRT) acted on intelligence they generated from some members of IPOB arrested when they raided the group’s hideouts in Imo, Anambra, Delta and the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Abuja.
Upon their arrest Owalo confessed to the IRT operatives that he was enlisted into the Nigeria Army in the year 2013 and was attached to 102 Guard Brigade Battalion. He was dismissed in 2019 from the army and was later recruited to train the IPOB militias on combat operations, ambush and use of firearms. Orji and Steven also claimed that they were enlisted into the Nigeria Army in 2015 and 2017, respectively and were trained at the 133 Special Force Battalion. They were dismissed in 2020, and joined the IPOB militias and gave them trainings on how to become Special Forces.

Orji

Steven

They claimed that they were promised a double of their salaries in the army and joined the IPOB military camp in Abia State where they trained more than 4000 IPOB volunteered fighters before moving to Asaba Delta State where they trained another 400 mercenaries.
They also alleged that IPOB leader, Nnamdi Kanu, told them that he would send them abroad for more military training and when State of Biafra is achieved, they would become military generals in the republic.
Recounting how he got involved in IPOB activities, 32-year-old Linus Owalo, and a native of Layal Local Government Area of Cross Rivers State claimed that he was deceived into believing that life will be better as a member. “ I was enlisted into the Nigeria Army, in 2013 l was posted to the Guards Brigade Headquarters, FCT Abuja, but In the year 2019, I was absent on duty and the army authorities arrested me. I was charged and subsequently dismissed from the service. Since then, I have been seeking for reinstatement and life have not been easy for my family and I. There was this man I approached for a job and he linked me to one Mr. Williams, who he said could help me get a job. Mr. Williams told me about Biafra and their dream to achieve a sovereign state. He invited me to their meeting and when I attended, I was welcomed warmly. I was given a half bag of garri, five tubers of yam and they also a paid a visit to my wife and children. I then told them that I was making plans to get my reinstatement into the Nigeria Army and they told me that I should forget about it that their Supreme leader, Nnamdi Kanu, would make life better for me, if I train the IPOB militias known as ESN. They also told me that I would be taken abroad after I have trained the militias for me to gain more military training and when Biafra is actualized that I will become a general in the Biafra Army. I took an oath, swearing my allegiance to Nnamdi Kanu and I also vowed that I would die if I betray the Biafra struggle and I was also given the sum of N100, 000. I was then moved to a forest in Abia State, where I saw over 4000 men who wanted to be trained. This was in October 2020 and I also met some other dismissed soldiers of the Nigeria Army who were there to train the men. We commenced training the moment I arrived and we started with push-ups, moral training, then we moved to fire movement known as field craft. There was no board and pen in the forest for us to write on but we trained them the way we could. The people managing the camp refused to trust us and they don’t involve us in their meetings. Three months into the training, they sent us to a camp in Delta State; we met a man known as Be-In-Spirit and he took us to the camp. They told us that when we get to Delta that they will take care of us very well and when got there we discovered that camp has been shut down. I couldn’t talk to Nnamdi Kanu; I was just talking to his boys. I was used and brain washed by IPOB. Since I have been arrested, I would make sure that I leak all their secrets. I am sorry, I was misled,” he pleaded.
The second suspect Godswill Steven a 33-year-old native of Bende Local Government Area of Abia State alleged that he got the link to join IPOB while in military detention. “I joined the Nigeria Army in June 2017, and I was attached to the Special Force and I got my four months training in Katogora. I also went to Kaba Kogi State for another three months training, before I was sent to Takum Taraba State for three more months training. At the completion of my training, I was sent to 133 Battalion, where I was wounded. I was posted to Maiduguri in 2018 and I fought at Garuda in Maiduguri, I survived the battle even with my injuries and I wanted to treat myself but the army authorities refused to allow me go for treatment. When the pain became too much, I left to treat myself and when I returned, I was arrested and locked up in a cell where I meet Chinaza Orji. We became friends and while in the cell he told me that one of his friends called him from Senegal and informed him that Nnamdi Kanu was recruiting trained soldiers to train IPOB militias. He said Nnamdi Kanu was ready to pay them twice the money they are earning as soldiers. He also told me that Nnamdi Kanu would also take the soldiers abroad and when Biafra is achieved, he will make them generals in the Biafra. I accepted the offer and they paid us N100, 000 each that was twice the salary I was receiving from the Nigeria Army. We then traveled to Abia State where we took oaths to be loyal to Nnamdi Kanu. We were also taken into the camp where we gave volunteered militias trainings on combat and special forces maneuvering. After spending one month in their Abia State Camp, we were transferred to another Camp, where I spent three weeks training the militias I met there. I left the camp, when it became clear that the promise, they made to take us abroad for training wasn’t realistic. I relocated to Abuja where I got a security job and I was eventually arrested.” He stated
On his part, 23-year-old Chinaza Orji who is a native of Isuikwuato area in Abia State claimed that he was dismissed from the Nigerian Army because he attended the burial of his elder brother, a soldier who was killed in August 22, 2018. “I was enlisted into the Nigeria Army in 2015 and was dismissed in 2018. My elder brother was a soldier and he was killed when he went on escort in Bayelsa State. My bosses refused to give me pass then I went on my own and my bank account was frozen and when I returned was arrested and detained, while in detention I was given access to my phone and I started chatting with one of my friends known as Victor who told me that Mazi Nnamdi Kanu needs my service to train some IPOB Militias. He told me that Kanu was ready to pay me twice the money I was earning in the army and I told my friend Steven, who was also in dentation about it and he accepted. They sent us money, which we used in transporting ourselves from Yola, Adamawa State to Abia State, then we were picked up by the IPOB members and taken, into the forest where we took oaths and started training the militias. I was paid N100, 000 but I got angry when they couldn’t fulfill their promise of taking us abroad for training,” he stated.

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