IPOB not a terrorist organisation says US,EU and UK govt

      Published Thursday, July 30, 2020 | 12:02 CET | BIAFRA TODAY
Biafrans wave flags in Venice, Italy during a mass protests in 2016

The United States government has said that it does not see the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, as a terrorist organisation.

While the Federal Government of Nigeria has proscribed IPOB and labeled it a terrorist organization, the US government, however, said it does not see IPOB as a terrorist organisation.

It said, although US is strongly in support of a peaceful resolution of internal crisis in Nigeria, however, under the United States’ laws, IPOB does not fit in as a terrorist organisation.

Recall that the Nigerian army’s Director of Defence Information, Major General John Enenche, had pronounced that IPOB was a terrorist organisation after a reported clash between military personnel and IPOB members in Umuahia, Abia state.

Maj.-Gen. Enenche had given reasons for pronouncing IPOB a terrorist organization to include that IPOB members used “stones, molotov cocktails, machetes and broken bottles, among others on a military patrol on Sept. 10, 2017.”

Also, the South-East governors had equally proscribed the activities of IPOB in the region after the army’s pronouncement on IPOB. Further on the proscription, the federal government had equally and still insists that IPOB is a terrorist organisation, maintaining that the group had printed its currency and was extorting money from innocent citizens of Nigeria.

It gave these reasons for backing IPOB’s categorization as a terrorist organisation, maintaining, however, that not even the Fulani herdsmen reported to have clashed with and killed farmers, raped women and destroyed farm lands could be placed on the same level with IPOB which it said had carved out a territory of its own within Nigeria.

In fact, the federal government had even said it had begun processes of blocking foreign sources of funding to IPOB.

Nigeria had equally accused both the governments of France and the United Kingdom of being in support and as well as funding IPOB’s activities in Nigeria. But the two governments of France and UK denied the allegation.

The order the federal government obtained from a Federal High Court in Abuja, ruled that IPOB is a terrorist organisation.

But IPOB had equally approached the court, demanding it to quash the order, saying the court order that said it was a terrorist organisation was a black market order.

It argued that the said order violated its right to freedom of assembly, expression and a right to demand freedom as enshrined in the United Nation’s charter on Human Rights as well as other national and international rights treaties to which Nigeria is a signatory.

However, the spokesman for the American Embassy in Nigeria, Russell Brooks, in a response to question by Sunday Punch, maintained that IPOB is not seen under US laws as a terrorist organisation.


Extract from  UK HOME OFFICE

Report on Indigenous people of Biafra (IPOB), released on 2 April 2020

Proper legal processes to apply for IPOB’s proscription in September 2017.’

The EASO Targeting of individuals report of November 2018 citing several media news sources stated:

‘After the crackdown [August 2015 and August 2016] in which the army killed and arrested an unknown number of IPOB members, the military, endorsed by the federal government, banned IPOB and declared it a terrorist organisation. This declaration was not supported by many Nigerians and international observers such as the EU and the US, as the Chatham House article noted. It was stated that “IPOB supporters are not known to be violent and that the protests have been largely peaceful”.’

Human Rights Watch in their World Report 2019, Nigeria: Events of 2018 stated: ‘In a letter to President Buhari in March, the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR) declared the government’s proscription of IPOB as a terrorist group and attacks against its members as prima facie violation of the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights. In April, Nigeria’s sixth periodic report on the implementation of the charter was considered at the ACHPR’s 62nd Ordinary Session in Mauritania.’

CPIT has been unable to find any information indicating that any other pro- Biafra groups are banned in the sources consulted (see Bibliography).
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An expert comment by Sola Tayo, a BBC journalist, and Fidelis Mbah, described as a journalist, published on the Chatham House website in November 2017 stated:

‘In September [2017] Nigeria’s military launched Operation Python Dance II, its second military exercise in South East Nigeria this year. It was carried out with the intention of quashing any calls for secession in a region with a long history of antagonism with the central Nigerian state...
‘The desire for independence among Igbo people of South East Nigeria is fuelled by a feeling of marginalization, and historical grievances against a state that they say doesn’t represent them. Feelings have reached boiling point with this latest military action. Python Dance II escalated into a violent confrontation in which supporters of secessionist group the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) claim some of their members were killed, and the home of the group’s leader, Nnamdi Kanu, was raided. Kanu has not been seen in public since the raid on his house.’

The report continued that:

‘Indeed, in the southeast, Operation Python Dance II seems to have emboldened rather than silenced IPOB supporters, through adding to the feeling of discrimination felt in the region and by making a martyr out of Kanu. And in any case, IPOB may be the most prominent, but it is not the only group advocating secession. MASSOB is also accused of violence by Nigeria's government, and, like Kanu, Uwazuruike has previously been imprisoned, accused of treason and released. There are several other pro- Biafra groups in the southeast but internal disputes have so far prevented them from presenting a unified front.

‘The umbrella body of Igbo people, Ohaneze Ndigbo, has openly voiced its concerns and is calling for the government to address the grievances of the region. They may not all support IPOB's rhetoric but are vehemently against labelling the group a terrorist organization, and condemn attacks against its members.

‘Kanu’s continued absence and violent confrontations risk igniting an insurrection that could destabilize Nigeria’s southeast.
The federal government’s response and tactics employed by Nigeria’s military should be called into question as forces are stretched on many fronts. In addition to the Boko Haram crisis in the northeast, the military has also been deployed to combat a rise in kidnapping of civilians and violence in the oil producing Niger Delta region.

 The proscribing of IPOB could in fact lead to a fully armed insurrection, plunging the country into deeper insecurity and sewing further division in this fragmented nation.


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