Are The Members of Eastern Security Network Truly Bandits As Alleged By Joe Igbokwe?

For a couple of months now, members of the Eastern Security Network (ESN), have been accused of masquerading as unknown gunmen to carry out attacks on security formations in the South-East region of Nigeria. The ESN has been criticized by many Nigerians due to the level of attacks and killings that are being perpetrated by the group. 

Recently, the Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, on Drainage and Water Resources, Joe Igbokwe, described the members of the group as Bandits. As reported by the Daily Post, the SSA to Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, alleged that he has received several death threats from the group because he refused to support their violent agitations. 

Photo Credit: Daily Post

As reported, Joe Igbokwe went further to describe the members of the ESN as the Bandits of the South-East region. Following this report, we may begin to ask ourselves whether the ESN members are truly Bandits, as alleged by Joe Igbokwe. It can be argued that the group has been accused of being responsible for the attacks and killings of security agents in the region. However, whether the group has the attributes of Bandits is something I am not sure of.

Image Source: Daily Post

Considering the mode of operations of the Bandits in the Northwest region of Nigeria, and how it varies from that of the unknown gunmen in the South-East who are alleged to be members of the ESN, we may begin to wonder whether there is any similarity between the two groups observe by Joe Igbokwe, which could have prompted him to conclude that the ESN members are Bandits of the South-East region. 

Arguably, there is a clear difference between the two groups. While the ESN was setup to protect the old Eastern region against Herdsmen attack, the Bandits in the Northwest have continued to kill and kidnap people at will, and demand ransom in exchange for the life and freedom of their victims. With this, one can easily conclude that the ESN members may not be Bandits. However, it could be that banditry has numerous aspects which we do not know about. As such, we may once again ask whether the ESN members are truly Bandits, as alleged by Joe Igbokwe.

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