Confusion As Police Parade Nollywood Actor As IPOB/ESN Member

Some friends of Nollywood actor, producer and comic artist, known as Hycent Azunna have accused the Imo State Police Command of unjustly labelling him as a member of the Eastern Security Network (ESN), the armed wing of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB). On 18th May 2022, the Imo police command said its operatives arrested Azunna and six other IPOB members in a shrine in Imo state.

The state police spokesperson, Michael Abattam, alleged that the suspects, in the course of interrogation, confessed to having murdered Inspector Felicia Nwagbara, who was the second wife of one of the suspects, Casmire Mgbugba. Contrary to the narrative of the police, friends of Azunna insisted he has no affiliation with IPOB.

They identified Azunna as an actor and musician who recently graduated from the Imo State University. According to statements from one of his friend; “Please check the young man wearing a singlet or armless top in that picture released by the police. This young gentleman was arrested alongside other people and tagged as ESN members. This young man is King Zealot and he is an actor and a music artist, based here in Owerri.
“I have been friends with him for years and I can clearly say he is in no way a thief or an ESN member. This is cheap blackmail.

He graduated from Imo State University last year and we have been together for years. This isn’t a good thing; the police can’t just arrest people anyhow and tag them what they like. They should release Zealot unconditionally; he is a gentleman and not an IPOB member,” one of his friends said.
Another friend of the suspect said; “According to information we received, he was illegally arrested by the police and accused of being an ESN member. Despite identifying himself as an actor, producer and comic artist, he was still arrested. Nigerian police and military have this record of arresting innocent people from the East and tagging them ESN members.

Sometimes, these innocent people end up being extra-judicially murdered. We need to raise an alarm before they murder this innocent young man. King Zealot is a well-known actor and a music artiste. He participated also in the popular Odogwu Bitters challenge.” The duo pleaded with Governor Hope Uzodinma’s administration to ensure the release of the young man, adding that he never associated himself with ESN or IPOB

Austine Ikeru
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