The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, has revealed the main reason the federal government branded the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) a terrorist organization.
According to the Minister, the pro-Biafra group had to be labeled a terror group in order to halt its global funding and, by extension, its ‘future’.
Mohammed, who made this known in an article he wrote for Washington Times, appealed to Nigeria’s “international partners to do the same.”
He wrote, “Currently, streams of cash come from across the globe to swell the organization’s stockpile of weapons. Yet funding of terrorism is illegal in international law. Only with the group’s correct categorization will our international partners be able to halt the financing — and with it, IPOB’s future.
“Terrorism is often called the power of the weak. That IPOB indeed are. But if the last decade has taught us anything, it is how quickly the weak can become strong.
“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 threat posed by the organization may be low. IPOB commands little grass-root support in the South East (the region it calls Biafra). All South-East governors have collectively condemned IPOB’s calls for secession. And local traditional and religious leaders have weighed into the debate, restating that absolute integrity of Nigeria.
“Violence, much less terrorism, never solves grievance. And for that reason, the overwhelming majority of residents in the South-East reject IPOB. They know the ballot box offers the best mechanism for redress.
“In spite of this, the latent threat is high. 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.
“The government recognizes in IPOB’s lust for destruction a trait shared with Boko Haram. It also appreciates a qualitative difference in the threat. Unlike Boko Haram — a regional insurgency — IPOB breeds insecurity across the whole nation. In their divisive and inciting rhetoric, they jeopardize the very social fabric that binds us.”