Connect with us


One week sit-at-home: Ekpa’s IPOB deploys propaganda, grounds South-East



There are indications that separatist leader, and Finland-based factional leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, Mr Simon Ekpa uses propaganda, scare mongering and spreading of false rumours to achieve the many sit-at-home exercises he orders from his base in Finland.

Ekpa had last week ordered a week-long sit at home exercise, threatening in a video, to deal with anyone who dared to come out in all the states of the South East.

This is besides the regular Monday sit-at-home which has become a norm in the South-East for the past two years.

However, there are clear indications that Ekpa deployed propaganda with which he caused tension, fear and grounded many parts of the South-East for one week.

Ekpa claims that the exercise was necessary to pressure the federal government to release the leader of IPOB, Mr Nnamdi Kanu, who has been in the custody of the Department of State Services, DSS.

He has severally been dismissed by the IPOB as an impostor, who is said to be working against Kanu’s release, and has long been expelled from the group.

Feelers show that the latest weapon of the group is to spread terror through unfounded news of gunmen attacks using various social media channels.

Once the rumour of gunmen attack is activated, residents take to their heels.

In Anambra State, the week-long sit at home exercise ordered by Ekpa revealed how he uses falsehood to scare south easterners into obeying his orders.

Ekpa had first circulated rumours of his plan to attack Anambra State on Friday.

Previously, gunmen suspected to be loyal to him were alleged to have attacked Ebonyi and Enugu States.

On Tuesday in Ebonyi, the gunmen, who are said to have already been arrested, destroyed wares at Isieke market.

In Enugu, innocent school children were made to kneel and beg for their lives, a development condemned by a former governor of the state, Senator Chimaroke Nnamani.

Four of the gunmen were said to have been killed Friday morning while attempting to infiltrate the state to enforce sit-at-home.

Also within the week, gunmen enforcing the illegal sit-at-home gunned down several persons in Imo State, including a tricycle rider and his passenger.

The rumour of a planned attack on Anambra was however ignored on Friday, as most markets, motor parks and schools opened for business.

DAILY POST experienced first hand as propaganda is deployed to destabilise the state. The state remained calm, with businesses going on well until about 10:30 am when rumours of attacks in various parts of the state broke.

DAILY POST correspondent was arriving Aguluzigbo in Anaocha Local Government Area, alongside other journalists, to keep an appointment, when the first sign of trouble was experienced.

St Patrick’s Catholic Church, Aguluzigbo was holding a burial mass of a deceased member when journalists arrived to witness a large cache of security men, comprising the police, vigilante operatives and soldiers, all at red alert.

A woman, Mrs Jane, who operates a kiosk was frantically trying to close her shop, but was urged by security operatives not to.

She said: “We have just been alerted that gunmen are operating at Afor Agulu now.”

Surprisingly, this reporter drove past the same Afor Agulu to arrive at Aguluzigbo, and noticed no scare at all, or any incident.

Further probe however showed that no one could identify anyone, who actually experienced attack, or agreed to knowing anyone attacked at Afor Agulu.

The rumour went round the community, causing businesses to hurriedly shut down.

Meanwhile in Awka, DAILY POST gathered that parents were already withdrawing their children from school, over rumours that gunmen were operating in other parts of the state.

A parent, Mrs Nwakaego Eleke, who hurriedly withdrew her children from school, said there were rumours that gunmen were operating at Eke Awka market, and would be headed to Aroma afterwards.

But a trader in the market told journalists on phone that there was no attack in the market, rather there was news that Aroma Junction was under siege, and that the gunmen would move to Eke Awka market, afterwards.

In Onitsha, a resident, Mr Felix Eze said: “I heard that six people have so far been killed around Upper Iweka. I’m not in Onitsha now, but I have friends who are giving me updates about the happenings in the town.”

When DAILY POST asked Eze to ask any of his contacts if they witnessed any attack personally, he called back to say that all stories about attacks were all third party narration, as no one actually witnessed any.

Reacting to the rumours, Anambra State government and police authorities described it as being orchestrated to destabilise the state.

Press secretary to Anambra State governor, Mr Christian Aburime attributed the scare to misrepresentation in Onitsha, where Anambra Vigilante Group (AVG) operatives, who were on patrol were mistaken for illegal gunmen, causing the scare in the state.

Aburime decried the sustained falsehood on social media by people he described as enemies of Anambra State, who have been trying to de-market the state.

In his own reaction, the spokesperson of Anambra State Police command, DSP Tochukwu Ikenga said: “We have observed with great dismay, the mischievous act of persons sharing false security alerts/messages, and doctored old videos of security incidents to cause tension/panic in the State. Given the above, the Command shall invoke relevant cyber laws on persons found wanting in this regard.”

He dismissed allegations of attacks anywhere in the state, saying that the police have adequately mobilised to counter any attack in the state.

DAILY POST correspondent however visited many parts of the state, on the same day that people were hurriedly shutting businesses.

This reporter who was in the convoy of the senator representing Anambra Central, Senator Victor Umeh, to visit some erosion sites in the state, drove through several local government areas, including: Nnewi, Anaocha, Idemili North, Idemili South, and Ekwusigo.

Owing to the fear of attack advertised by the separatists, in some communities, many locals fled, on sighting the convoy of the senator.

A public affairs commentator, Barr Julius Ekemezie said: “When people were running up and down, withdrawing their children from school, I knew it was propaganda.

“Apart from Simon Ekpa, IPOB as a group has mastered the use of propaganda and scare mongering. The only question I asked everyone who spoke about the attack that day was, ‘did you witness it’?

“The truth is no one witnessed any attack, they were just sharing false information.”

The situation is not different in Enugu State where the Governor Peter Mbah-led government has also blamed the sustained sit-at-home on the activities of rumour mongers.

The government has in a statement on Wednesday by Professor Chidiebere Onyia, Secretary to the State Government vowed to go after those who were spreading terror and instilling fear in the minds of residents.

He said such people want to test the government’s resolve “to end the illegal sit-at-home order by intentionally spreading panic and fear among the good people and residents of our state.

“The peddlers and instigators of the fake news and pandemonium are already being tracked down by government and the security agencies with a view to bringing them to book.”

While urging members of the public to disregard the falsehoods and fake images being spread on social media, the state government urged them to “go about their businesses, as security measures are fully in place to enforce law and order as well as safeguard lives and property.

“We must not succumb to the evil machinations of those who have no stake in our state; those who mostly live, work, and educate their children overseas, while destroying the economy of our people and the education and future of our children at home.

“The government hereby reiterates that the ban on sit-at-home in Enugu State stands and will be enforced to the full extent of the law.

“All offices, markets, business premises, schools, among others, remain open and fully functional. Those who want to test the collective resolve and strength of Ndi Enugu will not only be defeated, but will be met with the full wrath of the law,” the government declared.

In a similar statement two days later, the government urged members of the public” to disregard any scaremongers and go about their businesses, as security measures are fully in place to continue to enforce law and order and safeguard lives and property.

“It is noteworthy that many enemies of Enugu State and Igbo land, the hoodlums, anarchists, and criminal elements, who hide under freedom agitation to perpetrate destruction, violent crimes, as well as those who engage in scaremongering through fake videos and images, have been tracked down, apprehended and are being brought to book.

“We are winning the war and therefore call on Ndi Enugu to volunteer information to the authorities on any suspicious person and movement as well as those who use the social media to spread rumours and instigate panic among the members of the public.”

Meanwhile, the Ohanaeze Ndigbo has also accused Ekpa of playing the script of enemies of Igbo land, having allegedly collected huge sums of money to destabilise the region and undermine its progress.

The apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation accused Finland-based Ekpa of using the pro-Biafra struggle and Mazi Nnamdi Kanu’s name to enrich himself at the expense of the lives and property of Ndigbo.

These were contained in a statement signed by the National President of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Youth Council Worldwide, Mazi Okwu Nnabuihe, and made available to newsmen in Enugu on Sunday.

The group described Ekpa’s sit-at-home orders as part of a deal to destroy the economy and social life of the South East, and also de-market it politically.

“We want to make it abundantly clear to Ndigbo, Nigerians, and the international community that Simon Ekpa is not fighting the cause of Biafra or the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Mazi Nnamdi Kanu.

“He has instead sold all of us to our enemies, who are bent on destroying us economically, politically, and socially. He is also actively working against Kanu’s release in order to continue making money, knowing that the Federal Government will continue to detain Kanu so long as Igboland is restive.

“In the same vein, because South-East loss is the gain by other parts of the country, it is obvious Ekpa is being sponsored and encouraged to destroy and keep the region down, which is seen in the high loss of investments and the migration of existing ones to other parts of the country”.

Ohanaeze also called out the government of Finland for what it described as the European nation’s complicity in the bloodletting and havoc in the South-East region.

“We want to put it to the Government of Finland that it cannot count itself innocent of all the atrocities and the killings that enforcers of Ekpa’s insane sit-at-homes in the South-East region.

“We cannot stop wondering why such a society renowned for its high value for human life will continue to harbour Ekpa and also allow Ekpa to freely incite disaster and direct wanton destruction of lives and property in Igboland. Will they also treat him with kid gloves should his utterances and actions lead to the death of a single Finnish citizen?” Okwu queried.


NSCDC arrests 51 illegal miners in FCT



 The Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Command of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) has arrested 51 suspected illegal miners and three telecommunication mast vandals in the territory.

The NSCDC FCT Commandant, Olusola Odumosu, said this while briefing newsmen of the arrest on Monday at the command’s headquarters.

Odumosu said that the three suspected vandals were apprehended by the command’s intelligence and undercover operatives following a security tip-off of the dismantling activity at Giri area of the FCT.

According to him, before the decommissioning of a mast, an approval must be obtained from the NSCDC, being the lead agency in the protection of critical national assets and infrastructure.

He disclosed that the suspects, during interrogation by the command’s anti-vandal unit, were unable to show any approval paper. 

“Neither do they have any proper means of identification showing who they are and the company they are working for.

“Upon further questioning, they revealed that a a certain businessman had already been paid the sum of N4 million ahead of the dismantling which raised suspicion of a premeditated act of vandalism.

“Ongoing investigation is being carried out to determine his level of culpability and ownership claim, after which necessary action will be taken,” he said.

The commandant disclosed that in a similar operation, 51 suspects were akso arrested in Gwagwalada area of the FCT for engaging in illegal mining activities.

Odumosu explained that the suspects, all male, had been profiled and had no evidence of operating under a registered company, as well as no exploration and mining licence.

“All acts of illegal mining encroaches on the soil and causes environmental degradation and erosion, and that is why most of these areas are no longer useful for agricultural and human activities,” Odumosu said.

He said that after a thorough investigation of both cases, the suspects would be charged to court for further disciplinary action.

The commandant listed the exhibits recovered from the 54 suspects to include dismantled metal mast parts, and five pumping machines.

“Unquantified amount of substance alleged to be gold dust, pumping holes, ten litres of fuel, shovels, diggers and head- pan were seized. 

“Henceforth, we will not relent to arrest any form of sabotage on the economy.

“The Federal Government is trying so hard to provide infrastructure to make life easy, but some miscreants in the name of vandalism and illegal mining are trying to destroy what has been provided.

“People are quick to condemn the government, but people like these are the ones dehumanising the efforts of the Federal Government,” Odumosu said. 

He warned vandals and other criminals in the FCT to relocate because the NSCDC will not allow the sabotage of the economy to continue in the territory.

Continue Reading


FEC adopts Oronsaye report on civil service reform



The Federal Executive Council has adopted the Steve Oronsaye report on the reform of the civil service to cut cost of governance.

Minister of Information and National Orientation Mohammed Idris disclosed this at the end of the council meeting on Monday in Abuja.

He said that some Ministries, Departments and Agencies would be scrapped, merged or subsumed into relevant organisations of government.

Idris, however, said that the aim was only to cut cost and not throw Nigerians into the labour market.

The minister, who said that details of the affected MDAs would be made available soon, disclosed that a committee had been set up for its implementation.

Idris also revealed Council’s deliberation on the proposed  by the Nigeria Labour Congress, urging it to shelve the plan.

He said that government had fulfilled more than 85 per cent of the agreements entered into with Labour in September 2023.

The Minister said that Labour should consider the efforts of government in addressing the challenges and not allow mischief makers to hijack the situation at this critical period.

Similarly, the council approved the continuation of payment to vulnerable households under the National Social Investment Programme (NSIP).

Minister of Finance Wale Edun said that appropriate measures would be put in place to verify all beneficiaries.

He said all beneficiaries would be identified through their BVN, NIN and account numbers or electronic wallets even after the payment.

Edun said that the reintroduction of the NSIP was in line with the administration’s desire of addressing the challenges faced by vulnerable Nigerians.

He added that 12 million households would benfit immediately from the payment of N25,000 NSIP initiative.

Continue Reading


LASG denies alleged plan to lure communities for petrol project



The Lagos State Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development has debunked reports claiming the ministry is enticing residents of four communities in Ketu to accept the building of a petrol station in their area.
The Deputy Director, Public Affairs of the Ministry, Mr Mukaila Sanusi, said this in a statement on Monday in Lagos.

Sanusi, who named the four communities as Demurin, Oba Nle- Aro, Doyin Omololu, and Irawo Osan, said the allegation was false, biased and unfounded.

He said,  “Contrary to the insinuation of bias by a section of the media, the Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development, Dr Oluyinka Olumide, has disclosed that the stakeholders meeting at Demurin, Oba Nle- Aro, Doyin Omololu, and Irawo Osan community was part of the routine of treating such technical proposals to ensure fairness to all sides.

“Advocacy by proponents for supposedly non-compatible proposals is a welcome development in town planning which, once received by the ministry, must be validated with the host community through dialogue.

“Advocacy has been made to the ministry by the proponents of the project on the basis that Demuren and the adjoining roads are axial roads, serving the Lagos Ikorodu road, with appreciable vehicular coverage.’’
Sanusi explained that the meeting with the community aligned with the Lagos State Urban and Regional Planning and Development Law 2019 (as amended).

He further highlighted that the meeting was consistent with the Lagos State Government’s established approach of involving the public in decision-making, particularly regarding physical planning and governance in general.
He said that such open discussions would help to consider different perspectives and reach the best decision for the state and its residents.

Sanusi added that such dialogues had led to approvals or rejections of various facilities such as markets, cemeteries and petrol stations, among others.

He pledged the ministry’s commitment to fair and transparent procedures, including community involvement, in making decisions related to urban development projects.

Continue Reading