Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Buhari authorises commencement of process to proscribe IPOB

President Muhammadu Buhari has directed the commencement of formal process for proscription of separatist group, the Indigeneous People of Biafra, IPOB.

The Nigerian Military had last week declared IPOB a terrorist organisation after which governors of the five south-east states announced the proscription of the activities of the group in the region.
But the development drew criticism from some Nigerians, including Senate President Bukola Saraki who argued that neither the military nor the governors has the power to ban the group.
The Information Minister, Lai Mohammed, on Wednesday announced that the government has begun steps to end the debate on legality as President Buhari had commenced the process of proscribing the group.
Addressing the state House Press corps at the end of the Federal Executive Council, Mr. Mohammed said: “For those who are fixated with legality, I have good news for them.
“The President has approved the process of proscribing IPOB and before he left he did approve the proscription and the procedure is on.”
He however appeared not to see the points of law being raised on the issue.
The minister said: “And I ask, if the President had been overly concerned with the legalese, where will Nigeria be today?’’
He said he had had to deal with the issue of IPOB in many radio and television programmes in the past few days.
Acknowledging the rights of individuals or groups to seek self-determination, Mr. Mohammed however said such pursuit should be within the confines of the law and non-violent.
He said where any group crossed the line by engaging in violence, it then became out of tune.
He refused to be drawn to whether the South East Governors and the military were right in taking the positions they had on IPOB.
He said: “All I know is that IPOB has engaged in terrorist activities such as setting up prior military and para military, clashing with the national army and attempting to seize rifle from soldiers.
“It used weapons such as machetes and Molotov cocktails and mounting road blocks to extort money among others.
“The leader has openly solicited for arms,’’ he said.
Mr. Mohammed insisted that no national army would tolerate the IPOB activities or look away when attacked by a band of thugs.
He said but for the swift response of the South East governors, the crisis would have gotten out of hand.
“But for the quick action of the governors in the South East and their counterparts in the North and the traditional rulers there would have been conflagration of immense proportion.
“Permit me to especially commend the governors from the South East for making it clear to IPOB that it has no support for its violent campaign.
“By this action, the governors have cut off the oxygen that IPOB needs to survive.
“If the elected governors in the South East have banned the activities of IPOB, who then is the organization fighting for?’’ he asked.
He insisted that IPOB was a political contraption against the Buhari administration and was being sponsored by a coalition of the politically disgruntled and treasury looters.
The minister said IPOB had externalized its campaign by writing western governments and parliaments alleging genocide as well as using fake videos of killings to deceive the public.
He said the challenge for the country was to ensure that “we counter this narrative’’.
He noted that IPOB had opened diplomatic moves by setting up its financial headquarters in France and a radio station in London, adding that government would stop the funding of the group from the diaspora.

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