The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, is calling on Nigeria’s international partners to declare the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) a terrorist organisation.
In his article entitled ”Thwarting Terrorism in Nigeria”, which appeared in the US newspaper ‘Washington Times’ on Thursday, 12th Oct. 2017, the Minister argued that IPOB’s actions qualify the group as a terrorist organisation in most jurisdictions.
On 20th Sept 2017, the federal government of Nigeria proscribed IPOB, which it says has been violently agitating for a separate state in the South-East.
“The terror lays bare their opportunism. They masquerade as a separatist movement, yet they endanger the very people they claim to represent. In reality, IPOB cares about IPOB and nothing more,” Alhaji Mohammed said.
Using the words of IPOB leader 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,” the Minister likened IPOB to the ETA in Spain, the Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka, and the PKK in Turkey (all of whom have been proscribed by the U.S. State Department).
He made it clear that the Nigerian government will not make the same mistake as the previous in allowing terrorists to take territory.
“The government reiterates its appeal to its international partners to proscribe the organization, and in doing so, starve it of the funds which gives it sustenance. Nigeria has just defeated one preventable terrorist insurgency. This one must not be given the chance to get a foothold,” the Minister wrote.