UK,France Deny Link With IPOB

Britain and France yesterday denied any link with the outlawed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).

They were reacting to the Federal Government’s claim that Biafra Radio was broadcasting from Britain, which rejected requests to stop it.

Minister of Information Lai Mohammed said also that the bulk of the Diaspora money being sent to the group and its leader Nnamdi Kanu was passing through France.

The British High Commission, in a statement by its Press and Public Affairs Officer, Mr. Joe Abuku, said: “The UK is not aware of any representation from the 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, recognizing that freedom of speech and expression carries responsibilities.”

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A diplomatic source who corroborated the High Commission’s statement said: “There is no way the UK Government will harbor any terrorist organization. The UK is not immune from terrorism and it is in our interest to join hands with the Nigerian government to fight the scourge.

“We can only crack down on any group if proven intelligence is made available. And even in doing that, we will act only within the ambit of the law and fundamental human rights.

“If you will recall, the British Prime Minister in June called for a global action against the use of internet space by terrorists.

”She demanded international agreements to ‘regulate cyberspace’ against terrorists.”

The source quoted the British Prime Minister as saying:  “We need to do everything we can at home to reduce the risks of extremism online. We need to deprive the extremists of safe spaces online.”

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The French Embassy said its government was not harboring IPOB terrorists.

It said the French Government was surprised by the allegation from the Federal Government.

A statement by the Embassy’s Political Counsellor, Claude Abily, said there was no knowledge of IPOB presence in France.

The statement said: “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.

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“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.”

 

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