Thwarting Terrorism In Nigeria

Olusola Fabiyi, Abuja

The Federal Government has called on Nigeria’s international partners to designate the Indigenous People of Biafra as a terrorist organisation.

Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, made the call on behalf of the government in his article, entitled, ‘Thwarting Terrorism in Nigeria’, which appeared in the United States of America’s newspaper, Washington Times, on Thursday, October 12, 2017.

He argued that IPOB’s actions qualified the group as a terrorist organisation in most jurisdictions and likened its activities to those of the outlawed Boko Haram.

The Federal Government had on September 20, proscribed IPOB, which it accused of violently agitating for a separate nation in the South-East.

“They masquerade as a separatist movement; yet, they endanger the lives of the very people they claim to represent. In reality, IPOB cares about IPOB and nothing more,” Mohammed said.

The minister recalled statements that had been attributed to the IPOB leader, Mr. Nnamdi Kanu, such as: “If they fail to give us Biafra, Somalia will look like a paradise compared to what will happen to that ‘zoo’ (Nigeria);

“I don’t want peaceful actualisation (of Biafra); we need guns and we need bullets; if they don’t (give us Biafra), they will die.”

Mohammed, therefore, described IPOB as a terrorist organisation like ETA in Spain, Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka, and PKK in Turkey (all of which have been proscribed by the US State Department).

He said that the Muhammadu Buhari-led administration would not make the same mistake made by the previous administration in allowing terrorists to capture areas of the country.

“The government reiterates its appeal to its international partners to proscribe the organisation, and in doing so, starve it of the funds which give it sustenance. Nigeria has just defeated one preventable (armed) insurgency. This one must not be given the chance to get a foothold,” the minister wrote in his article.

Mohammed alleged that IPOB was getting access to streams of cash from across the globe with the aim of empowering it. He, however, reminded the international community that funding of terrorism remained illegal under international law.

He said, “Currently, streams of cash come from across the globe to swell the organisation’s stockpile of weapons. Yet, funding of terrorism is illegal in international law. Only with the group’s correct categorisation will our international partners be able to halt the financing — and with it, IPOB’s future.

“The threat posed by the organisation may be low. IPOB commands little grassroots support in the South-East (the region it calls Biafra). All South-East governors have collectively condemned IPOB’s calls for secession. And local traditional and religious leaders have weighed into the debate, restating that absolute integrity of Nigeria (is important).”


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