The Presidency, on Thursday, declared that every other group functioning like the secessionist group, Indigenous People of Biafra, would be banned and tagged a terrorist organisation.
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, made the assertion during a live television programme titled, ‘Sunrise Daily’ on Channels Television.
Shehu mentioned that IPOB operated like the dreaded Boko Haram sect by declaring an independent state and hoisting a foreign flag on Nigerian soil.
He also alleged IPOB printing Biafran currency; issuing Biafran passports and demanding money from people under the guise of mandatory tax collection.
Shehu in reponse to being questioned on the Federal Government’s action if a similar group surfaces, said such a group would also face the same sanctions as IPOB.
The President’s spokesman however said groups like the Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra, would not face proscription since they were not as violent and disorderly as IPOB.
Shehu added further that the Arewa youths, who had earlier issued a notice to quit to Igbos, were not being treated as IPOB is, because they retracted their threat and had yielded to the voice of reason.
According to Shehu , “There is a criminal activity and terrorist activity. Yes, the Fulani herdsmen are a criminal gang and they are being dealt with in accordance with the law but IPOB, like Boko Haram, has carved out a territory as a sovereign state and they have raised concerns in Kogi and Benue and have boasted that they will take over Bayelsa and Rivers.
“That was exactly what Boko Haram did and the taxation system and hoisting of flags. This is not acceptable.”
Giving reasons for inability to have located sponsors of Boko Haram but promptly identified IPOB’s sources of funds Shehu said IPOB’s case was less cumbersome as they regularly solicited for funds openly.
“It is perhaps more complicating than we are seeing and if you look at the President’s message at the United Nations, he asked for the funding of Boko Haram be traced and blocked.”
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