Pan-Igbo socio-political group Ohanaeze Ndigbo yesterday gave reasons the United States and the United Kingdom may not proscribe the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB).
The group’s agitation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo said, is anchored on the marginalisation of the Southeast.
It sighted lopsided appointments by President Muhammadu Buhari as an example of such marginalisation.
President Buhari, in an interview with Bloomberg on Tuesday, pleaded with Western partners to block IPOB from the international financial network.
“Their leadership enjoys safe haven in the West, broadcasting hate speech into Nigeria from London, spending millions lobbying members of the US Congress, and freely using international financial networks to arm agitators on the ground. This must stop,” Bloomberg quoted the President as saying.
But, Ohanaeze said the President had fueled a sense of injustice by the continuous exclusion of the Southeast in the scheme of things.
In a statement by its spokesman, Alex Ogbonnia, said even the West are not blind to the causes of IPOB’s agitations.
It said: “The request by Mr. President to the West is most unachievable because the West watches with keen interest and utter resignation the pathetic governance paradigm in the country.
“Mr. President is reminded that the British profound sense of justice, fortitude, restraint, civic virtues and forbearance are the hallmarks that sustain their enviable government with an unwritten constitution.
“In a similar vein, what sustains the U.S. democracy is not just the constitution but democratic norms and values anchored on justice and patriotism.”
The group believes what IPOB is asking for is to be treated “as partners in the Nigerian project or be allowed to go.
“On the other hand, how can one explain the obvious lopsidedness in the appointment of military and paramilitary personnel to head the followings organisations with little or no Southeast considerations: Army, Airforce, Navy, Police, Department of State Security (DSS), National Intelligence Agency (NIA), Correctional Service, Immigration Service, Customs Service and several others.
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“Alhaji Sule of the blessed memory in congratulating Mr. President, admonished that ‘justice is key to good governance’, that Mr. President should extend justice to all and sundry, irrespective of religion or tribe.
“Sule reminded Mr. President that an infidel with good conscience and equity can govern successfully, far better than a believer devoid of a sense of justice.
“The prophetic Sule urged him to do justice to all parts of the country because according to him, peace and stability are a product of justice and equity.
“He added that in the absence of justice and equity, there can never be peace and development.
Ohanaeze said the President has also not decisively dealt with the issue of herdsmen, who it noted killed many in Benue days ago.
“Ohanaeze contends that if Mr President confronts the menace of the herdsmen who have been terrorising several states, communities and individuals for over seven years now with similar obsession and commitment deployed to IPOB, Nigeria will be a better place,” it added.
IPOB denies involvement in pipeline vandalism
Also yesterday, IPOB denied the allegation that it is involved in pipeline vandalism in the Niger Delta.
President Buhari had, in the interview with Bloomberg, attributed Nigeria’s inability to meet its OPEC quota in crude production to the criminal activities of the secessionist group in the oil-producing region.
“It would help if our western allies designated IPOB as a terrorist group given their complicity in damage to pipelines and infrastructure,” the President said.
The statement reads: “Muhammadu Buhari should tell America and other western countries the locations of pipelines IPOB vandalised.
“The allegation against IPOB is childish because everybody knows that IPOB does not engage in pipeline vandalism in Nigeria.
“Even the international community knows that IPOB does not involve in such activities.
“Maybe the Federal Government doesn’t know that the West is not daft and uninformed, perhaps he would not have made such embarrassing claims.
“Buhari should be reminded that his Western audience already knows the actual culprits behind pipeline vandalism in Nigeria, and who the beneficiaries are.
“In case he has forgotten, as usual, just last week, his Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps (NSCDC) boss threatened to name high-profile Nigerians behind oil theft.
“Did the NSCDC boss need to issue such a threat assuming IPOB, a ‘terror organisation’ according to Buhari’s Nigeria, is actually the ones behind the crime?
“One thing is certain: IPOB will hunt down those terrorists masquerading as herdsmen in Biafran bushes and forests.
“Whatever allegations they like let them fabricate; we can’t abdicate our divine mandate of defending our ancestral land against occupation.”