The Federal Government says it is aware of sources of funding of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and is taking steps to block them.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed disclosed this on Tuesday when he appeared on a live TV programme “Good Morning Nigeria” on the Nigeria Television Authority (NTA). “Terrorists do not publish where their funding are coming from but we know the countries that are supporting IPOB.
“We know the sources of their funding though I am not at liberty to disclose them here, we are taking steps to block them and we are also taking a lot of diplomatic actions in respect of the countries that are supporting them”.
The Minister said that most of the countries supporting the group were doing so based on ignorance. He said they had been hoodwinked into believing that “Nigeria is a country where Muslims persecute Christians” and a country where there is genocide.
“As we speak today, IPOB has written letters to many Governments outside Nigeria, international parliaments sending fake and cloned videos claiming there is genocide in Nigeria.
The minister charged the international community not to adopt double standard in dealing with IPOB and to be more diligent before making any pronouncements. He said what the countries would never accept in their territories, should not be condoned or encouraged in Nigeria.
The minister justified the actions of the military for declaring IPOB a terrorist group as well as its proscription by the South-East governors. “There are a lot of arguments regarding the constitutionality of the action of the military and the South East governors.”
“There are a lot of arguments regarding the constitutionality of the action of the military and the South East governors. People must realise that we are dealing with issues of national security and I do not think that the military and the governors should fold their arms while the country is set ablaze. I have heard a lot of comments as to whether the military has the right to declare IPOB, a terrorist group. What the military has done is to catalogue all the activities of IPOB, which are not different from that of terrorist groups,” he said.
Mohammed said IPOB set up a para-military organisation, a parallel military group, Biafra Secret Service and Biafra National Guard. He said the group were attacking army installations and soldiers at checkpoints, extorting money from innocent people.
“IPOB activities are not jokes. If there have not been the proactive actions on the part of the military and the South East governors, there would have been retaliations from other regions and the entire country will be set on fire.
“We cannot be talking of semantics or procedure when the nation is moving towards crises and precipices. It is only in a Banana Republic that you can see non-state actors doing what IPOB is doing.
“The actions by the military and the governors should be seen from the perspective of ensuring internal security and averting chaos,” he said.