IPOB: FG Disagrees With U.S. On Group’s Status

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Alhaji Lai Mohammed, Minister of Information and Culture

*Explains Why It Labelled IPOB A Terrorist Group

THE Federal Government, on Thursday, disagreed with the United States of America on the status of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB.

It described as “unfortunate” and “unacceptable” the position of the US government over Nigeria’s declaration of the organisation as a terrorist group.

The Federal Government had earlier been ensnared in a face-off with France over funding of IPOB and the United Kingdom, over the operation of Radio Biafra.

Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, faulted the US position, Wednesday night in London, when he featured on BBC Television programme, “Focus on Africa.”

The minister, who stressed that the Federal Government was right in declaring IPOB a terrorist organisation, picked holes in the US position.

“It is very unfortunate, if countries decide to pick and choose which organisations are terrorists and which are not, bearing in mind that terrorism has no boundary.

“I think what we should do is that every country should work together to ensure that terrorism does not thrive,” he said.

US, EU’s stance on IPOB Last week, spokesman of American Embassy in Nigeria, Russell Brooks, in a response to a question by a journalist, said IPOB was not seen under US laws as a terrorist organisation but assured that the US government was committed to Nigeria’s unity and would support a peaceful resolution of any crisis in the country.

“The United States government is strongly committed to Nigeria’s unity. Important political and economic issues affecting the Nigerian people, such as the allocation of resources, are worthwhile topics for respectful debate in a democracy.

“Within the context of unity, we encourage all Nigerians to support a de-escalation of tensions and peaceful resolution of grievances. The Indigenous People of Biafra is not a terrorist organisation under US law,” he said.

Earlier, President of the EU Commission, Mr. Jean-Claude Junker, had on September 17 before the Federal Government formalised the proscription of IPOB via the Federal High Court, rejected the classification of IPOB as a terrorist organisation by the Nigerian Armed Forces. He warned Nigerian security personnel against what he described as their ill-hearted and unprofessional handling of democratic issues and the rights of the people.

“It is the people’s right to agitate and make a request from their government; self-determination is a right enshrined in the United NationS Charter. The people of Biafra have every right to request for a referendum, they have been in this struggle for a while now, they have never killed or shot a bullet, instead, they are the victims of attacks and murder.

“The entire EU, hereby, condemns the brutal attack on IPOB members and leadership under the pretentious disguise of a military exercise (Operation Python Dance II). The Nigerian military is warned to adopt democratic tenets in handling citizens. The EU will not sit and watch things go undemocratic in the largest economy of the West African region.”

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