IPOB UPDATES: Nigeria’s Government promises to reveal faces behind IPOB funds

Last update: September 23, 2017 (09:51)
  • IPOB lawyer asks court to reverse proscription order
  • Every group like IPOB will be proscribed –Presidency

Nigeria’s Government promises to reveal faces behind IPOB funds

Nigeria’s Government has promised to work closely with French authorities in order to identify faces behind finances of a proscribed regional group, Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).

Photo credit:punchng

Rise for self-independent by the group heightened in recent time in the South-East part of Nigeria, which propelled the Defence Headquarters in Abuja to tag it a terrorist organization due to its activities that was seen as “a country within a country.”

The country’s Information and Culture Minister, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, had in a recent “authoritative” outburst said that France was the financial headquarters of IPOB, an allegation the France denied.

He also pointed accusing fingers at the United Kingdom for its refusal to shut down Biafra Radio, which the government believed it’s been used Nnamdi Kanus’s IPOB as propaganda medium to spread hate speeches around the World.

This move requires diplomatic strategies from Nigeria’s government for it to get the full corporation of the French government.

And one of the strategies Nigeria is taking is the “systematic” denial that it accused France of supporting regional faction within its territory, however said that a large transfer of funds were made regularly from France to IPOB in Nigeria.

Another measure, according to one of the most authoritative Nigerian dailies The Punch, Aso Rock is taking is to ask the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit and the Central Bank of Nigeria to compile the needed information on the sponsors and hand it over to the French government, which in turn will check if actually the accused are based in France.

The newspaper quoted an anonymous source as saying,“Since IPOB has been declared a terrorist organisation by a court in Nigeria, the French Government, which claims to be against Nigeria’s break-up, is expected to give us maximum cooperation.

“Before his arrest, Nnamdi Kanu had appealed to people of Igbo extraction in some of these countries to provide him with funds which would be used in buying weapons and bringing down the Nigerian Government.

“In a video, which has even gone viral on Youtube, Kanu said he needed guns. This is not hearsay.

“We will also be writing these countries informing them of the need to ensure that IPOB’s source of funding is traced and blocked.”

Nigeria is also expected to work with other countries from which IPOB received huge cash inflows. They include: Turkey, Senegal, Malaysia, Hong Kong, United Kingdom and the United States.

Before now, Mr. Muhammed had indirectly accused opposition party of fueling crises and making effort to sabotage the ruling party’s anti-corruption crusade.

“They hold on to any platform to derail the Federal Government. It is not when we release their names. We know those who are sponsoring IPOB belong to these two groups. These are those who are politically disgruntled and those who are treasury looters. So, it is not when we start mentioning names,” he was quoted as saying.

IPOB lawyer asks court to reverse proscription order

September 22, 2017 (22:51)

The Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) isn’t giving up on their agitation for the attainment of self-independent as the group through its lawyer approached a Federal High Court in Abuja on Friday, September 22, 2017, asking it to vacate the order banning the activities of the group on the ground that it is non-violent.

IPOB was (Wednesday, September 20, 2017,) proscribed by the court after listening to an ex parte application by the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami (find details below).

But IPOB counsel Ifeanyi Ejiofor has approached Acting Chief Judge of the court, Justice Abdu Kafarati, saying that IPOB proscription order was unconstitutional, “as the order was granted against an entity unknown to law.”

The Cable quoted the IPOB lawyer as arguing that the court denied IPOB fair hearing before issuing the order.

IPOB’s arguments include: “That the ex-parte order made on the 20th day of September 2017, by this honourable court was made without jurisdiction, as the order was granted against an entity unknown to law.

“That there is a clear suppression and misrepresentation of facts in the attorney-general affidavit evidence, pursuance to which the order was granted.

“That the order is unconstitutional,  as it was made in clear violation of the constitutionally guaranteed right of the Indigenous People of Biafra to self-determination; Article 20(1) of the Africa Charter on Human & Peoples Rights, now domesticated into our Law under (Ratification and Enforcement Act) (Cap 10) Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 1990; right to fair hearing, right to freedoms of expression, and the press and rights to peaceful assembly and association; clearly provided for under sections 36, 39 and 40 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as (Amended) 2011.

“That a declaratory order cannot be made pursuant to an ex-parte application, without hearing from the party against whom the order was made.

“The Indigenous People of Biafra who are majorly of Igbo extraction, have no history of violence in the exercise of their right to self determination.

“The Indigenous People of Biafra does not carry arms and has no history of arm struggle in the exercise of their constitutionally guarantee rights to self determination.”

Find more IPOB stories below

Every group like IPOB will be proscribed –Presidency

September 22, 2017 (15:51)

The Presidency has promised to proscribe any group that operated like the secessionist group, Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).

The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, spoke on “Sunrise Daily” on Nigeria’s 24/7 News television station Channels.

Shehu said IPOB operated like Boko Haram by declaring an independent state and hoisting a foreign flag on Nigerian soil.

Among other allegations leveled against IPOB by the Presidential aid are:

  • Printing Biafran currency;
  • Issuing Biafran passports and
  • Biafra compulsory tax collection

According to him, “If another group comes up and produces passports and produces currency and sets up an intelligence agency and a para-military organisation of sorts, the law will apply to them as it did to IPOB.”

Position of Nigeria’s government on MASSOB, and Fulani Herdsmen

When asked why another group like MASSOB wasn’t proscribed, Shehu said the group (MASSOB) was not as violent and unruly as IPOB.

He said a northern group Arewa youths, who issued quit notice to Igbo, were not labeled terrorist group because they withdrew their threat, and never went violence like IPOB.

He also said that the Federal Government was doing everything possible to deal with menace of herdsmen attacks in some parts of the country.

“There is a criminal activity and terrorist activity. Yes, the Fulani herdsmen are a criminal gang and they are being dealt with in accordance with the law but IPOB, like Boko Haram, has carved out a territory as a sovereign state and they have raised concerns in Kogi and Benue and have boasted that they will take over Bayelsa and Rivers.

“That was exactly what Boko Haram did and the taxation system and hoisting of flags. This is not acceptable.”

IPOB commends South-East Senate Caucus, ask UN, AU, EU to probe alleged killings

September 22, 2017 (14:17)

In the meantime, Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) has commended the South-East Senate Caucus for kicking against labeling the group “a terrorist organisation.”

IPOB spokesman, Comrade Emma Powerful, said, “We the Indigenous People of Biafra and its leadership worldwide under the command and leadership of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu wish to commend the caucus of South-Eastern senators for standing firm and bold in condemning the Nigerian government and her judiciary for proscribing and labelling IPOB a terrorist group.

“The South-East lawmakers refused to be cowed into submission to tag IPOB as a terrorist and unlawful organization.”

The banned group has equally poured encomium on the National Assembly’s leadership to investigate alleged extra-judicial killings of IPOB members Nigerian army’s Operation Python Dance.

It called on global and regional organizations like the United Nations, African Union, European Union to also investigate the alleged killings.

The statement reads, “IPOB also commend the decision reached by the National Assembly to investigate the activities of IPOB and the recent killing of unarmed civilian population, code-named Operation Python Dance 11 in the South-Eastern region, particularly in Aba, Port Harcourt and Umuahia, the home town of IPOB leader Mazi Nnamdi Kanu. IPOB would be happy to welcome you.

“Since the inception of this present Biafra agitation championed by IPOB, nobody can testify or declare where IPOB involved in criminal activity but the Nigerian soldiers have been abducting, maiming and killing our members starting from 30th August, 2015.

“We would be very pleased if the National Assembly members come and investigate this recent massacre in Abia and Rivers states,” he said.

Nigeria yet to make formal request on Radio Biafra in UK

(September 22, 2017 {09:09})

The United Kingdom has said that Nigerian government is yet to make a formal request on the Radio Biafra used as mouthpiece by the Indigenous People of Biafra (POB).

The radio has been accused as a medium for hate speech against Nigeria.

The radio station was established by the Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) with Mr. Nnamdi Kanu, a British citizen, (now IPOB leader) as Director.

In a short reaction on Thursday, September 21, 2017 in Abuja Press and Public Affairs Officer, British High Commission in Nigeria Mr. Joe Abuku said, ““The UK is not aware of any representation from Nigerian government about Radio Biafra.’’

“Were we to receive any such request, we would, of course, consider it carefully on the basis of the available evidence, recognising that freedom of speech and expression carries responsibilities.’’

Minister of Information and Culture Lai Muhammed in one of our reports (below) accused the UK’s government for failing to shut down Radio Biafra on the excuse of “freedom of speech.”

France denies IPOB funding allegation

France has denied the allegation made by Nigeria’s Minister of Information and Culture that its country was the financial headquarters of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).

Mr. Lai Mohammed had said that France was the major country with those funding the proscribed South-eastern-based group, “Let me tell you, the financial headquarters is in France, we know…You have to block the sources of finance.”

France was an ally of Biafra between the 1967-1970 secession bid.

But in a reaction, France expressed its commitment to the unity of Nigeria, stating that it has no knowledge of IPOB’s financial activities in France.

Political Counsellor in French Embassy Mr. Claude Abily said in a statement that Nigerian government did not get in touch with France on the issue.

News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) quoted Abily as saying, “The Embassy of France was surprised by the statement made yesterday by the Minister of Information and Culture indicating that the “financial headquarters” of IPOB were in France.

“We don’t have any knowledge of a particular presence of IPOB in France and the Nigerian authorities never got in touch with the Embassy on this point.

We stand ready to examine any information which could support this statement.

“Furthermore, we would like to reiterate that France actively cooperates with Nigeria in the field of security and that we strongly support the unity of the country.”

France’s Ambassador to Nigeria, Denys Gauer, told The Guardian, that his country would not in any way work with any group agitating for the dismemberment of the nation.

He said his country will continue to work with Nigeria and support it as a united country.

On why France supported Biafra during Nigeria’s civil war, Gauer pointed out that Nigeria has evolved since the civil war.

Ndigbo can’t afford another civil war –Ohanaeze (September 21, 2017)

The Igbo socio-cultural group in Nigeria Ohanaeze Ndigbo has declared that Nigeria can’t afford another civil war.

The President-General of the group Chief John Nwodo made the submission in Sokoto, when he led leaders of Igbo groups on a courtesy visit to Governor Aminu Tambuwal.

“Yes, our country is going through a trying period. We should, under any circumstances, not experience another civil war. We should not allow personal emotions to undermine our national unity,” he stated.

It was gathered that the visit of the Igbo leaders to the North was at the instance of the South-East governors and other stakeholders from the South-East geopolitical zone.

The socio-cultural group used the opportunity to assure the Governor Tambuwal, and other Northern leaders of their cooperation for peaceful coexistence among the ethnic nationalities in the country.

He poured encomium on Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar, for his recent declaration that, “Whoever wants to attack the Igbo, should attack him first.”

“In the same vein, I came with the assurances of the South-East governors that any Igbo who wants to kill a northerner, should first kill them,” Nwodo further said.

“We must remain partners in progress of our country, as we have seen how our own fathers and forefathers live to make it grow and develop to its present stage,” he said.

Sokoto State is always home for all Nigerians”-Governor Tambuwal

In the same vein, Governor Tambuwal has assured the Igbos of their safety and peaceful coexistence of all people residing in the state, saying, “Sokoto State is always home for all Nigerians.”

He noted that agitations should be channeled through proper discussions in the interest of the nation’s progress.

“Nigeria must remain one entity and its existence should not be questioned as God made us one from various tribes and dependent on one another.”

Ndigbo to visit Kano and Adamawa

The Ndigbo group continues with its tour of the Northern states as it’s expected to visit Kano and Adamawa states in continuation of its peace mission.

Youth unemployment responsible for various agitations-Gov. Ortom of Benue

Meanwhile, the Governor of Benue State Samuel Ortom has told journalists in Abuja that high the rate of unemployment among Nigerian youth was responsible for the various agitations across Nigeria especially by the now proscribed IPOB.

“I think that this agitation that we are talking about, if you look at the majority of the people that are visibly seen from the Biafran agitation that has now been proscribed; you discover that they are mainly youths.

“Youths are all over the place. If you hear what the Arewa coalition did, they are still youths. To me, I think that it is lack of employment. And it’s a very big challenge we have to contend with.

“I have known that even before I started campaigning to be governor even as governor, what troubles me every day is how to surmount this challenge.

“I feel that this agitation and all these problems, threats from here and there are coming as a result of not engaging these youths because the hand that is idle becomes the devil’s workshop.

“I think that we must concentrate our efforts at the local government, state and federal levels to ensure that we engage our youths.”

Financial headquarters of IPOB is in France-Nigeria’s Minister alleges

September 20, 2017

Nigeria’s Government has alleged that the Indigenous People of Biafra was receiving a large chunk of its financing from France.

It’d be recalled that the FG earlier said that the group was being funded by disgruntled political elements.

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said this at the Presidential Villa Abuja during an interview with State House correspondents after the Federal Executive Council Meeting.

Mohammed said it would be difficult to block the funding because some innocent Nigerians were receiving money from France for legitimate reasons, “We have the records, we know IPOB collects money from many people in diaspora. They collect money from many people in Nigeria, they collect money from some foreign countries, this is clear.

“Let me tell you, the financial headquarters is in France, we know. But you see, can you, as a government, stop people sending money to their parents? You have to block the sources of finance; that is what I said recently.

“It is incontrovertible that some people in diaspora contribute money to IPOB. Where does he get his money from? We know this as a fact.”

The minister said moves to collaborate with foreign governments to tackle the activities of the group had not been successful.

Mohammed said, for instance, the Federal Government asked the United Kingdom to help shut down Radio Biafra in London from where Kanu was transmitting hate speeches the UK Government rejected the request based on the need to protect freedom of speech.

“In tackling IPOB again, there are a few very naughty diplomatic issues which you need to skip. For instance, who does not know that the IPOB international radio is located in London? We know the diplomatic moves we have been taking and approaching the UK and all the damage it (Radio Biafra) has done but they don’t see it that way; for them, it is about freedom of expression.”

Mohammed claimed that IPOB leader Kanu had been caught on video in London in 2015 soliciting money for weapons.

He added, “I think anybody, who has watched Nnamdi Kanu’s videos, knows that anywhere he goes, he openly solicits arms and funds. I have a lot of quotations from him as to the violent nature of IPOB.

“In one of his videos, he said if he was arrested, his boys should burn down the country.

In a related development, a Non-Governmental Organisation, Project Nigeria First, has praised efforts of the Federal Government and governors in the Southeast to forestall a breakdown of law and order in their domain.

The National Coordinator of the group, Mr. Uche Nwabukwu, said this at a media briefing in Abuja on Wednesday.

He said the timely intervention of government at the federal and state levels had help prevent throwing the entire country into chaos.

September 21, 2017…

Nigerian Court grants prayer proscribing IPOB

A Nigerian Federal High Court in Abuja has granted the prayer of Federal Government proscribing the activities of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).

The acting Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Abdul Kafarati, granted the injunction on Wednesday.

The Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, had filed an exparte application urging the court to grant the injunction.

The order read, “That the application is granted as prayed.

“That an order declaring that the activities of the respondent (Indigenous People of Biafra) in any part of Nigeria, especially in the South-East and South-South regions of Nigeria, amount to acts of terrorism and illegality is granted.

“That an order proscribing the existence of the respondent (Indigenous People of Biafra), in any part of Nigeria, especially in the South-East and South-South regions of Nigeria, either in groups or as individuals by whatever names they are called and publishing same in the official gazette and two national dailies, is granted.

“That an order restraining any person or group of persons from participating in any manner whatsoever in any form of activities involving or concerning the prosecution of the collective intention or otherwise of the respondent (Indigenous People of Biafra) under any other name or platform however called or described is granted.”

The Punch quoted Mr. Malami as saying, “It is true that IPOB was proscribed by the court today. It was the Federal High Court presided over by Justice Kafarati.

“The presidential approval proscribing the group has been sanctioned, confirmed and affirmed by the court. The group stands proscribed.”

On the FG’s next move he said, “Gazetting is the final stage and that takes an executive procedure not legislative or judicial.

“As I have said, the executive aspect has been concluded by presidential approval and the judicial aspect has equally been concluded by the granting of the order by the court.

“That means the executive and the judicial processes have been concluded.

“It clearly remains the official gazetting which is the last thing to do.”

President Muhammadu Buhari had earlier given written approval for the proscription of the group, pending legal process, News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports.

Defence Headquarters in Abuja first declared IPOB as a terrorist organization, and governors of the Southeast states later supported the military’s announcement banning their activities.

Legal practitioners and political commentators criticized the announcement of the military, saying it doesn’t have the constitutional power to declare a group a terrorist organization.

Which country in the world will tolerate IPOB activities?-FG

In a related development, the Federal Government has praised the decision of the Southeast governors for proscribing the group, saying IPOB has been cut down to size.

Nigeria’s Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said this during a chat with State House Correspondents at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, on Wednesday.

Mohammed said IPOB had metamorphosed into a band of thugs and had perpetrated several acts of violence which no reasonable government in the world could condone.

He said, “Let me state clearly that it is within the rights of individuals or groups to seek self-determination. But this pursuit has to be non-violent. Where any group crosses the line by engaging in violence, it risks being cut to size and that’s exactly what has happened to IPOB.

“I am not interested in the semantics or legality of troop’s deployment or the proscription of IPOB. All I know is that IPOB has engaged in terrorist activities such as: Setting up parallel military and paramilitary organisations, clashing with the national army and attempting to seize rifles from soldiers, using weapons such as machetes, molotov cocktails and sticks and mounting roadblocks to extort money from people, among others.

“To those who have engaged in semantics or legality, I ask: Which country in the world will tolerate those activities I have listed above? Which national army will look the other way when it is being attacked by a band of thugs?”

Biafra: Adamawa Igbo community says agitation unnecessary

The Igbo community in Adamawa State said the agitation by IPOB for Biafra republic is unnecessary.

The agitators were advised embrace peace so as to plunge Nigeria into another civil war, “Biafra agitation has failed and there is no need to restart it; the agitators should consider the interests of the Igbo in other parts of the country.”

Leader of the community in Adamawa Chief Godwin Onemaka condemned the activities of IPOB in Yola, on Thursday, NAN reports.

“We, the Igbo in Adamawa, kick against the agitations for Biafra and we view it as an unnecessary capable of plunging the nation into crisis.

“We advise the agitators to stop, so that Nigeria will remain united and they should remember that since the agitation had failed in the past, revisiting it is unnecessary.

“We are looking for a way of developing ourselves and the country while most of us have invested much outside south eastern part of the country.

“So, we want to distance ourselves from the agitation, we have lived in the northern part of the country for years and our children have studied there most of whom are graduates now,’’ Onemaka said.

Chief Onemaka was said to have also praised the south eastern state governors for intervening in the matter but expressed concern about declaring the agitators as terrorists.