Umahi made the claim on Thursday April 22, while appearing on a Channels Television program.
The Ebonyi state Governor said these criminals claim to be members of the secessionist group so that the persecution of IPOB and ESN by the federal government will cover them.
“The truth of what is happening is that there are bandits everywhere; there are cultists everywhere. What happens now in south-east is that criminals who may not necessarily be members of IPOB and ESN, will go and commit crimes and they need a name. So it’s safer for them to say they are members of ESN, and IPOB so that the persecution of IPOB and ESN by the federal government will cover them.
“That is what is happening in south-east because IPOB and ESN have a number of times come out to say they are not into terrorism and violence, and the people burning police stations and killing are not their members. And so how do you reconcile the two?”