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Opinion: ESN Means Well, Their Dispute With The Nigerian Army Should Be Handled Differently

LexObinna
By LexObinna | self meida writer
Published 11 days ago - 630 views

ESN as everyone knows is a security outfit set up by Mazi Nnamdi Kanu to tackle insecurity and Fulani settlers who he claims forcefully grab lands from people living in the remote south-eastern part of Nigeria.

When the news of a security outfit set up by Nnamdi Kanu hit the media, everyone was eager to see what this setup will look like and some were ready to make a joke of them.

But surprisingly, the ESN was much more organized than most people imagined many were wondering how long it took Nnamdi Kanu to set up this security outfit, and how he managed to pull it off in the Southeast before he decided to make it public in December 2020.

I, for example, when I heard about the news of the Eastern Security Network for the first time, I was amazed at how such a group was organized and equipped without much fuss from the media.

Talking about the ESN being equipped, I think that's where my worry lies, a lot of people especially the Igbo's who living in Orlu will tell you what the activities of the ESN have brought them these few days. Nigeria military is currently searching the entire community for the camp of this Nnamdi Kanu's security outfit.

For the neutrals living in Orlu, this whole thing will be a nightmare to them because they never asked for this or supported the activity of the ESN in their community since day one they resumed operation. 

Currently, the Nigerian military is on ground to curb the activities of the ESN, I think it will be a perfect time for prominent Igbo's to begin a peace talk and how best to resolve this dispute between the Nigerian army and the Eastern Security Network.

The Nigerian army and the ESN may have started on the wrong foot, but I think their agenda is similar because the Nigerian army exists to protect and serve our nation, and they're currently in Orlu Imo because they were invited by Imo State governor Hope Uzodinma. Not forgetting, the ESN was set up to curb insecurity or any threat posed by bandits against the locals living in the Southeast.

From my perspective, the Nigerian army are seeing the ESN as a threat because they both clashed a few weeks ago in Orlu, and the dispute that resulted in this clash could've been easily avoided and resolved with mere dialogue, but it didn't happen, and now it has escalated to a stage the Nigerian government wants the security outfit dislodged.

The ESN means well for the Igbo's, with their presence there hasn't been any reported case of bandits attacking villagers or herders destroying crops in any part of the Eastern region since they resumed operation.

For this reason, I think the Nigerian army dislodging ESN will not only leave the Igbo locals vulnerable to the attack of bandits and gun-wielding herders but also give rise to petty crimes and cultism which the ESN has curbed since they began their activities in Imo State.

The earlier clash between ESN and the Nigerian army may have caused unrest and breached the peace in the Orlu community, which I understand is the reason Imo State governor invited the Nigerian army to remove the ESN from his state. But I think the situation hasn't escalated to the extent peace talk and dialogue shouldn't be used to resolve this dispute.

I still remember vividly that Nnamdi Kanu made it clear that ESN is for the security of the Igbo's just like the Amotekun in the Southwest. He mentioned that the security outfit shouldn't be regarded as the IPOB military and I still believe the activities of the ESN haven't deviated from what Nnamdi Kanu created them to tackle.

In conclusion, the ESN hasn't misplaced their priorities, their objective and reason why they were set up in the first place are to protect the Igbo's from bandits and to curtail the excesses of gun-wielding herders. 

For me, they are simply a vigilante group and not an army for the IPOB, and their earlier clash with the Nigerian army is one of the reasons they're being arrested and their camp bombarded. 

I still believe this conflict should have been handled differently with a three-man dialogue involving governor Hope Uzodinma, ESN leader, and the Nigerian Army Chief and not with guns and airstrikes. 

What do you think?

 

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