The apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo has described the call by President Muhammadu Buhari on Western countries to designate the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) as a terrorist organization as unfortunate. Ohanaeze reminded the President that his actions fuelled the agitation for a separate state by members of IPOB and others in the South-East, describing IPOB as a product of injustice.
Buhari had, in an interview granted to Bloomberg, urged international allies to take additional step to proscribe IPOB and designate it as a terrorist organization. He was quoted to have pleaded with Nigeria’s international partners, especially the United States and the United Kingdom to block the group from the international financial network.”
Reacting in a statement on Wednesday, the spokesman for Ohanaeze, Dr Alex Ogbonnia, stated that what IPOB was asking for is very clear; “treat us as partners in the Nigerian project or allow us to go.” Ohanaeze, in the statement titled, “IPOB as a product of injustice,” stated; “It is most expedient to enlighten the general public that what IPOB is asking for is the parting words of a Nigerian titan, the Maitama Sule imperatives, to President Buhari when he led the Northern Leaders Forum to congratulate him shortly after his victory in the 2015 general elections.”
The statement read in part; “What I think IPOB is asking for is very clear: treat us as partners in the Nigerian project or allow us to go. On the other hand, how can one explain the obvious lopsidedness in the appointment of military and paramilitary personnel to head the following organizations with little or no considerations for the people of the South-East region; Nigerian Army, Nigerian Air Force, Nigerian Navy, Nigeria Police Force, Department of State Security, National Intelligence Agency, Nigeria Correctional Service, Nigeria Immigration Service and Nigeria Customs Service; and several others.
“On the other hand, as Maitama Sule predicted the orchestrated alienation of the South-East region from the centre of power as the cause of the agitation in the region. The Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, led by Ambassador Professor George Obiozor, has repeatedly stated that a people denied justice may not have interest in peace.
“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. For the avoidance of doubt, democracy all over the world requires justice, equity, mutual toleration and institutional forbearance, all of which are in short supply in the country today.”
Also, the leadership of IPOB has lashed out at the President over allegations that the group was responsible for pipelines and public facilities’ vandalism in the country. According to the group, Buhari further showed the world his ignorance when he stated that oil facilities, located on the coast of Niger Delta, were vandalized by IPOB.
IPOB’s Director of Media and Publicity, Emma Powerful, speaking on Wednesday, described the allegation as laughable and childish. Emma Powerful stated; “The President should tell America and other Western countries the locations of pipelines IPOB vandalized. The allegation against IPOB by Buhari is childish because everybody knows that IPOB does not engage in pipeline vandalism. Even the international community knows that IPOB is not involved in such acts.
“Going to Bloomberg news and parroting falsehoods against IPOB won’t save him and his co-travellers from being prosecuted in the International Criminal Court at the appropriate time,” the statement concluded.
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