IPOB running ‘well -known int’l campaign’ to destroy Nigeria – Presidency
By Steve Oko
The President Muhammadu -led federal government has accused the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra, IPOB, of running “a well -known international campaign” to destroy Nigeria in order to actualize self rule for Biafra republic.
Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, made the allegation in a statement in Abuja entitled, “British lawmakers, legal experts and campaigners should work with President Buhari, not fall for propaganda.”
Shehu who was reacting to the recent letter by some British Parliamentarian to the Common Wealth demanding investigations into genocidal killings and ethnic cleansing in Nigeria and immediate prosecution of the perpetrators and their sponsors.
The British Parliamentarians whose letter dated September 14, also accused government of complacency, calling for its trial for failing to protect its people in breach of Common Wealth laws.
The British lawmakers had, in a letter to the Secretary-General of the Commonwealth, Patricia Scotland, dated September 14, and co-signed by Baroness Cox, Baroness Kennedy, Jim Shannon, Fiona Bruce, former Archbishop of Canterbury, Lord Williams and 14 others, asked the Commonwealth to conduct an impartial investigation into the killings in Nigeria and bring the perpetrators to justice.
The parliamentarians expressed indignation over the killings by Boko Haram insurgents in the North-East and Fulani herdsmen in the Middle Belt region and said the failure of the Federal Government to protect Nigerians was a breach of the Commonwealth charter.
They, therefore, requested the Commonwealth to raise the killings with the Ministerial Action Group.
Not comfortable with the letter which is now generating global reactions, the Presidency accused IPOB of wagging formidable international campaign to pull down Nigeria.
The Presidency urged the British MPs to ignore IPOB and others spreading the information of killings in Nigeria.
The statement read in part :“The IPOB are running a well-known (source-of-financing-unknown) international campaign intended to damage the reputation of Nigeria and its government in order to further their cause of ‘independence.’ He jumped bail in Nigeria. He frequently travels on a Nigerian passport but urged his supporters to burn their passports!
“The IPOB barely mention their aims in their publicity; neither do they mention that their own leadership does not claim to be Christian. Yet, their media and lobbying campaign have focused near-exclusively on promoting matters related to Christianity in Nigeria, promulgating false claims that a government with 50 per cent of its cabinet and 50 per cent of its state governors who are Christian somehow works against Christians.
“We call on our British friends and colleagues to join us in addressing genuine solutions not pander to agents of anarchy.”
Shehu, however, said the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), and the Federal Government welcomed the seriousness of the letter and the attention paid to it by the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group.
He expressed the government’s readiness to work with the lawmakers, the Commonwealth and all concerned parties to bring a lasting solution to herder-farmer clashes, and the threat posed to all Nigerians – and the Sahel region as a whole – from Boko Haram terrorists and their allies.
He added, “We ask our British colleagues to visit Nigeria, whether formally or informally to discuss all the points raised in their letter.
Buhari’s deputy is an evangelical pastor, Presidency tells British parliamentarians
“Our government is made equally of Christian and Muslim cabinet members. Our Vice President is an evangelical pastor. We have everything to gain as a country through international cooperation with concerned, senior British parliamentarians and policymakers.
“The threat to civilians and peaceful co-existence between different ethnic and religious groups from Boko Haram, banditry and land disputes is of serious concern to the President and the government. It is incorrect, however, to assert that the government has or is doing nothing to address these intertwined threats.”
He said there were ongoing efforts for the establishment of cattle ranches to prevent or curtail open grazing, the practice which he said brought herders and farmers into conflict.
Shehu also attacked former Defense Minister, Theophilus Danjuma, alleging that he is part of those promoting false information against Nigeria.
“For example, the former Nigerian Chief of Army Staff named and quoted in the letter as a source on military matters, relinquished that position some 40 years ago – in 1979.
“He was last in a government position 17 years ago in 2003 (as Minister of Defence). At that time, religious and ethnic riots erupted in two states of the federation, (2001 and 2002). These were violently and ruthlessly put down by the military under his authority, leading to the loss of thousands of lives and the displacement of some further 50,000 persons.
“He is, therefore, not a natural source of pressure for good governance.”