The Indigenous People of Biafra has accused the Nigerian government of sponsoring ‘a failed international propaganda’ against its struggles.
The United Kingdom Visas and Immigration office in its May 2022 policy update had been quoted out of context as saying IPOB was proscribed in the UK and its members could not be granted asylum. However, the British High Commission in Abuja has since refuted the claims.
Reacting in a statement on Sunday, IPOB, through its spokesperson, Emma Powerful, said the Nigerian government should bury its head in shame for rejoicing over the misinformation purportedly shared by the “enemies of Biafra”.
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, had said the UK’s stance was a welcome development and should be followed up with appropriate actions.
Shehu had said, “Nigeria welcomes the decision by the United Kingdom to proscribe the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) as a terrorist group. The violent secessionist organisation has long been proscribed as such in Nigeria where it carries out the majority of its murderous activities…”
IPOB, in the statement, said Shehu’s stance had only confirmed that President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration was behind the viral misinformation.
The group further alleged that the Nigerian government had been sponsoring insecurity and banditry in the South-East region to demonise IPOB and ESN (Eastern Security Network) operatives and falsely present them as terrorist organisations.
IPOB’s statement reads in full: “We are the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) movement worldwide ably led by Mazi Nnamdi Kanu. Our attention has been drawn to the inaccurate and fake news purporting that the United Kingdom, UK Government has classified IPOB as a terrorist organisation.
“We, therefore, wish to clarify that there is no iota of truth in the said malicious fake news planted and being peddled by the enemies of Biafra freedom and independence. Nothing more may be said than the clarification already given by the British High Commission in Abuja, to the effect that the said media report is untrue and should be disregarded.
“The curiosity and childish haste with which the Nigerian Government celebrated the said fake news, commending the UK Government for the imaginary but non-existent proscription only confirmed that the Muhammadu Buhari and his Fulani-controlled Federal Government of Nigeria are behind the fake news.
“We are calling on British government to change their minds about continuing to humiliate Biafra, this is not jet age the world is going behind those old systems they used to humiliate Biafra at that time. Stone age has gone and they should understand that Biafrans are human beings and they must benefit from Biafra when the time comes.
“Maybe Fulani terrorist government has forgotten that the UK is not Nigeria where there is no rule of law and due process. Nigeria unilaterally proscribed IPOB and designated IPOB terror organisation while freeing and compensating Fulani bandits, the real mass murderers. What hypocrisy.
“Nigerian Government has been sponsoring insecurity and banditry in Biafra land and continues to link it with IPOB in its desperation to demonise IPOB and ESN operatives and present us as a terrorist organisation that we are not. Nigeria kills its own citizens like the recent case in Imo State where an Army couple was beheaded after the woman was allegedly raped. Can you believe this, all in a bid to nail IPOB and justify the likely military invasion of our land?
“Nigerian Government should hide its face in shame for sponsoring a failed international propaganda against IPOB, they have removed their evil celebrations on Twitter.
“They are using hoodlums to sponsor violence in our land to create the impression that our leader is leading a criminal organisation but they will keep failing. The Nigerian Government defends Fulani terrorists and bandits. They hardly talk about their atrocities in the media but any time there is little violence in Biafra land, they will rush to the media to blame IPOB.
“IPOB had been existing long before those criminals trying to blackmail the good work of IPOB in London for a long time. Nigerian media must be objective in their reportage and ensure they investigate news before giving the public wrong information that is not true. We commend the objective media platforms and enjoin others to emulate them and resist any attempt by Government to be used as a propaganda tool.
“IPOB is a peaceful and nonviolent movement seeking to free indigenous Nigerians from the bondage Fulani put every tribe in Nigeria, not terrorist activities in Nigeria.
“While commending the British High Commission for putting the records straight, we still don’t know why British Government has not come out openly to condemn the numerous abductions, killings and rape by Fulani bandits and other terrorists in the South-East Region, especially the killings in Agatu of Benue, Sothertern Kaduna, Uzouwan in Nsukka Enugu State, Plateau State and the rest of Middle Belt Region since 2014.
“The British High Commissioner in Abuja should endeavour to give accurate information about IPOB to her Government in UK, and resist peddling fake news sponsored by Nigeria against us. The global world knows how IPOB operates both in Biafraland and the entire world.
“It is only proper for the Ambassador to give accurate information about freedom seekers based on facts on the ground and not allegations and frame-ups by the Nigerian Government.
“Nigeria government, shame on you, IPOB must win this battle with you our great leader Mazi Nnamdi Kanu started and show us the way to move forward to the free land. We advise Biafrans to be resilient and pursue our freedom with determination because Biafra must come in our time. We have gone far and cannot stop midway.”