…says it’s financial headquarters in France
Sunday Ode, Abuja
The Federal Government on Wednesday confirmed that President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the process of proscribing the Nnamdi Kanu-led Indigenous People Of Biafra (IPOB).Government also disclosed that the financial headquarters of the group that has been accused of threatening the peace and unity of the country is in France.
Minister of Information and Culture , Alhaji Lai Mohammed, disclosed these to State House correspondents after the weekly Federal Executive Council meeting presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.He said he maintained his earlier position that a coalition of politically-disgruntled persons and treasury looters are sponsoring IPOB.
He specifically commended the governors in the South-east for making it clear to IPOB that it has no support for its violent campaign adding that by this action, the governors have cut off the oxygen that IPOB needs to survive.
He noted rhetorically that If the elected governors of all the states in the South-east have banned the activities of IPOB, who then is the organization fighting for?
“As you are aware, I have had a series of media interactions and Radio/Television appearances in the past few days, all dwelling on the topical issue of the moment, the activities of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB). I will briefly summarize the kernel of my engagements so far.
” But before I proceed, let me state clearly that it is within the rights of individuals or groups to seek self-determination. But this pursuit has to be non-violent. Where any group crosses the line by engaging in violence, it risks being cut to size. and that’s exactly what has happened to IPOB.
” I am not interested in the semantics or legality of troops deployment or the proscription of IPOB. All I know is that IPOB has engaged in terrorist activities, viz: Setting up parallel military and
paramilitary organizations, clashing with the national army and attempting to seize rifles from soldiers, using weapons such as machetes, molotov cocktails and sticks and mounting roadblocks to extort money from people, among others.
“To those who have engaged in semantics or legality, I ask: Which country in the world will tolerate those activities I have listed above? Which national army will look the other way when it is being attacked by a band of thugs?
” For those who are fixated with legality, I have good news for them: President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the process of proscribing IPOB, and the procedure is on as I speak. But I ask, if the President had been overly concerned with legality, where would Nigeria have been today? If attacks in the South-east had attracted reprisals elsewhere in the country, what would have happened. But for the quick action of state governors in the South-east and and the North, there would have been a conflagration of immense proportions.
“I did state, during my earlier interactions, that IPOB is a contraption against the Buhari Administration, and that it is being sponsored by those I call the Coalition of the Politically-Disgruntled and the Treasury Looters. I stand by that statement despite the noise emanating from the usual suspects. To quote the title of a James Hadley Chase novel, The Guilty Are Afraid. I will add: The guilty are always overly agitated. Good for them,” Mohammed said.
The minister stated that IPOB has decided to externalize its campaign as It has written to governments and parliaments in the West alleging genocide in the South-east. He observed that even a dictionary definition of ‘genocide’ does not support that claim. IPOB has also engaged in using highly-emotive videos of killings, which it harvested from other lands and were doctored, to hoodwink the international community.
Explaining further why the federal government has moved to proscribe IPOB, he said” I think anybody who has watched Nnamdi Kanu’s videos anywhere he goes to he openly solicits for arms and for funds, I have a lot of quotations from him as to the violence intention of IPOB, in one of his videos he said if he is arrested his boys should burn down the country.” The same Kanu went on television a few days ago saying he was sleeping at about 4:30pm in his house in Umuahia and then some solders were making noises they were disturbing his sleep and his boys stopped them.
“I ask him which country in the world would tolerate this, unfortunately Nigerians we have short memories at times, or we tend to be very mischievous because this thing is being turned into oh the North is persecuting the south east or muslims persecuting christians we have forgotten that in 1983 there was a group called Matatsine in Kano, they were crushed by Shagari government, they were muslims and northerners.
“When they relocated to Buruku they were again crushed by Shagari, when Buhari became Head of State, the same Matatsine raised their head, he chased them far into the Chad republic as then the Head of State, I remember that time he was accused by America of trying to expand Ghadafi’s agenda, Abacha in his own time dealt also with Matatsine and he was a muslim, President Yar Adua in 2010 was on his way to the airport when he got a report about Boko Haram, he sent army to go and destroy them, these were muslims from the north dealing with essentially islamic muslim insurgencies, anything about insurgence or terrorists act you don’t think about religion, you don’t think about ethnicity, you think about the unity of the country.
According to him, Nigeria has been very very lucky, as last week there would have been massive bloodshed if reprisals had taken place outside the Southeast and it didn’t take place because traditional rulers ,governors and other leaders went out to pacify people .
He said that as cosmopolitan as Abuja is, it took the FCT minister to mobilise all the 17 graded traditional chiefs and emirs in Abuja to hold meetings with all the stakeholders.He added that “To pacify the situation and they think its a joke, you can imagine what would have happened if the people of Kano or Kaduna started retaliation, so we are in a very dangerous situation and actually we are sitting on a keg of gun powder. The peace that you are seeing is deceptive we must continue to work on it and we must continue to counter this very untrue narrative.
“Is there anybody here who can tell me which part of Nigeria genocide is taking place it is not true but ofcourse we are in the era of fake news and artificial intelligence where you can make a video of what is happening in Iraq super impose pictures in Nigeria and voices and send it, people are gullible including some foreign countries.
On naming those behind the financing of IPOB, Mohammed said ” I think this is not rocket science, any treasury looter would do everything possible to distract government. If by any act, God forbid it, Nigeria is today engulfed in war, and Nigeria is now involved in trying to quell unrest, will the courts be spared.
“What would be the first priority of government it will be to quell that riot, so its a way of distraction to ensure that government is not focused, so its not rocket science that a person today who has a case in court or almost going to jail will try and cause confusion, he would go and add and support IPOB.
“We have the records, we know IPOB collects money from many people from diaspora,they collect money from many people in Nigeria they collect money from some foreign countries, this is clear.”Let me tell you, the financial headquarters is in France, we know but you see can you as a government stop sending money to your parents, you have to block the sources of finance that is what I said recently.
“It is incontrovertible that some people in diaspora contribute money to IPOB, where does he get his money from, we know this as a fact, again there are a few very naughty diplomatic issues which you need to skip, for instance who does not know that the IPOB internal radio is located in London, we know the diplomatic moves we have been taking and approaching the UK,all the damages its done but they don’t see it that way, for them its about freedom of expression.
“If we have a person in Nigeria openly soliciting arms to come and fight the UK, what would you think of, would you consider that freedom of expression, and this is a country that also has had a history, what did IRA do to be labeled a terrorists organisation, they were planting bombs, they were fighting the British army, I don’t want any diplomatic row, we know for a fact where the funding is coming from and we are going to stop them but its difficult to stop them and we have been working on it and we will not stop,” he stated..
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