In a Washington Times op-ed published on Friday, Nigeria’s minister of information, culture and tourism, Lai Mohammed called on foreign governments to proscribe the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) movement led by Nnamdi Kanu.
“On Sept. 20, the Federal Government of Nigeria proscribed IPOB as a terrorist organization. I, as minister of Information and Culture and the spokesman of the government, call on our international partners to do the same,” Mohammed said.
Why IPOB is a terrorist organisation:
- According to Mohammed, statements like these – “I don’t want peaceful actualization (of Biafra)”; “We need guns and we need bullets”; “If they don’t (give us Biafra), they will die” – attributed to Kanu prove that the group he leads is a terror group.
- “IPOB’s public announcements endanger Igbos that reside outside the South East. In claiming to speak for the Igbo, they falsely represent the group. This is a terrorist tactic we have seen through history across the world. IPOB intends to drive a wedge between the Igbo and the rest of Nigeria. Grievance rooted in discrimination drives their recruitment — or so they think. They therefore manufacture it through stoking ethnic tension. This is the aim of IPOB’s rhetoric.”
Why it is important to label IPOB as a terrorist organisation:
- IPOB currently gets “streams of cash from across the globe to swell the organization’s stockpile of weapons”, Lai Mohammed said. It is only after IPOB has been “correctly categorised” that our international partners can “be able to halt the financing — and with it, IPOB’s future.”
Mohammed said even though the threat posed by IPOB may be low, its “latent threat is high.” The group is overwhelmingly rejected by a majority of residents in the South East, including the governors who have collectively condemned it.
However, he said, “Boko Haram similarly had little support in the North East in 2009. They didn’t need it. Armed with terror and buoyed by government inaction, they seized large swathes of land. Inertia in Abuja lubricated the group’s advance. But now due to this government’s actions, Boko Haram hold no local districts. This administration shall not make the same mistake as the last. We will take the rapid, precise and necessary action required to deal with IPOB now.”