Three dismissed soldiers, who were part of the training of over 4000 members of the Eastern Security Network (ESN), the armed wing of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), have narrated how they were lured with money and promises.
The dismissed soldiers, Linus Owalo, Godswill Steven and Chinasa Orji, NaijaNewsNow learnt, were recently arrested by operatives of the Force Intelligence Response Team (IRT).
They were said to have been arrested after operatives of the IRT acted on intelligence they generated from some members of IPOB when they raided the group’s hideouts in Imo, Anambra, Delta and the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Abuja.
Owalo, who was enlisted into the Nigeria Army in 2013 and was attached to 102 Guard Brigade Battalion, was dismissed from the army in 2019. His colleagues; Orji and Steven, who were enlisted into the Nigeria Army in 2015 and 2017 respectively were trained at the 133 Special Force Battalion and got dismissed in 2020.
According to reports, the ex-soldiers were promised a double of their salaries in the army before joining the IPOB military camp in Abia State where they trained over 4000 IPOB volunteered fighters and then moved to Asaba Delta State where they trained another 400 IPOB members.
The dismissed soldiers while confessing, said they were promised to be sent abroad for further military training and that when State of Biafra was achieved, they would become military generals in the republic. They added that when they discovered that Kanu’s promises were all lies, they decided to quit.
32-year-old Linus Owalo, a native of Iyala Local Government Area of Cross Rivers State, who is married with two children, said; “I was enlisted into the Nigeria Army in 2013 and posted to the Guards Brigade Headquarters, FCT Abuja. But in 2019, I was absent from duty and the army authorities arrested me.
“I was charged and subsequently dismissed from the service. Since then I have been seeking reinstatement and life has not been easy for me and my family. Then I approached one man for a job who however linked me to one Mr Williams who 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 where they welcomed me warmly and I was given a half bag of garri, five tubers of yam and they also paid a visit to my wife and children.
“I then told them that I was making plans to get reinstated into the Nigeria Army but they told me that I should forget about it that their Supreme leader, Nnamdi Kanu, would make life better for me if I could train the IPOB militias known as ESN.
“They also told me that I would be sent abroad for more military training after I must have trained the militias and that when Birafra was actualized I would become a general in the Biafra Army. I took an oath of allegiance to Nnamdi Kanu and also vowed that I would die if I betrayed the Biafra struggle. I was then given the sum of N100,000 before moving to a forest in Abia State, where I met over 4000 men who wanted to be trained.
“This was in October 2020. 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 moved to fire movement known as field craft. The people managing the camp refused to trust us and they didn’t involve us in their meetings.
“Three months into the training, they sent us to Delta State, where we met a man known as Be-in-Spirit who took us to the camp. They told us that when we got to Delta they would take care of us very well but when we got there we discovered that the camp had been shut down. I couldn’t talk to Nnamdi Kanu, I was just talking to his boys. I discovered that I had been brainwashed and used by IPOB”.