The Federal Government yesterday alleged that the opposition was fueling the Independent Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) rebellion to distract the Buhari administration and destabilise the country.
Urging Nigerians to be vigilant and resolute, Information and Culture Minister Lai Mohammed said the evil machinations of the group and its plan to incite Nigerians against one another had failed.
Besides, he stated why the government moved against IPOB.
Mohammed hailed Southeast governors’ decision to proscribe IPOB, stressing that the organisation, which has been labeled a terrorist group by the military, should cease to exist.
He told reporters in Lagos that IPOB’s activities had reached a crescendo, threatening national unity.
Mohammed said: “IPOB is nothing but a contraption by those who believe they have lost political power as well as the right to loot our treasury. It is a tool in the hands of the corrupt and disgruntled elements to sabotage the Buhari administration. It fights for no one, but the corrupt and the disgruntled. It seeks to set us apart as a people, exploiting our fault lines. Its modus operandi is to trigger conflagration nationwide through attacks and reprisals.”
The minister lamented that IPOB had violated Nigeria’s sovereignty by setting up parallel military and para-military organisations, mounting roadblocks, confronting the military, openly soliciting for weapons and inciting hatred and violence.
He noted that the group’s atrocities had been documented by the military, including the formation of a Biafra Secret Service, the formation of Biafra National Guard, extortion of money from innocent civilians at illegal roadblocks, and illegal patrol.
Mohammed applauded the military for its decisiveness in checking the organisation, adding that Nigeria would have been on fire if the soldiers have not risen to the occasion.
The minister stressed: “There is no doubt that the wounds inflicted on the nation’s psyche by the activities of IPOB will take some time to heal. But, while that happens, Nigerians must understand that IPOB was not set up to fight for the right of anyone or group, but as a tool to destabilise the nation, divert attention from the efforts of the Buhari administration and obliterate the laudable achievements of the Administration.
“IPOB is being sponsored by those I will call the Coalition of the Politically Disgruntled and the Treasury Looters. They believe that by sponsoring this group to destabilise the country and trigger chaos, they will realise their ambition of escaping justice and then be free to dip their hands into the nation’s treasury again.”
Mohammed wondered why the IPOB leader, Nnamdi Kanu, who led a protest at the Nigeria House in London against Boko Haram insurgency and in support of Nigeria’s unity under the Jonathan Administration, suddenly metamorphosed into a monster with an agenda to set the nation ablaze.
He said IPOB had intensified its nefarious activities to distract the government when it should consolidate on its monumental achievement of taking the country out of recession.
The minister chided the IPOB agitators for their hate speech, fake news, and disinformation, pointing out that these tactics were employed to shift attention from the feat.
He added: “The self-imposed IPOB leader, Nnamdi Kanu, is the master of hate speech. No one, including the same people whose rights he claims to be championing, escaped his vitriolic and primitive attacks.
“We challenge all his sympathisers to scrutinise his incendiary, divisive and inciting speeches, the name calling and the derogatory remarks about the nation’s leaders, and then, tell the nation if such do not constitute hate speech. Leaders of thought and commentators who have shown the inclination to accommodate Kanu and his excesses should say if this is what they expect from someone who wants to lead.”
Mohammed alerted the country to IPOB’s plot to attract sympathy for its propaganda from the Western world by giving the impression that its members are victims of ethno-sectarian violence orchestrated by the government.
He urged the international community not to jump into any conclusion on the basis of fake videos and other false portrayers in the social media.
Mohammed appealed to the media to show restraint by objectively reporting the motive behind the deployment of troops to the Southeast for “Operation Python Dance II” to check the group.
He added: “The military has labeled IPOB a terrorist organisation and the Southeast Governors have proscribed it. It’s time to let IPOB go to where it belongs, the dustbin of history. The tense situation triggered across the country by IPOB’s activities must be brought down. The media has a big role to play in that, and I believe we will all do the needful.”