The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has said
the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) is being sponsored by certain
disgruntled elements to sabotage the Buhari Administration, under the
guise of fighting for the rights of the people of the South-east.
This was contained in a statement signed by his SA, Segun Adeyemi.
”Nigerians must understand that IPOB was not set up to fight for the right of anyone or group, but as a tool to destabilize the nation, divert attention from the efforts of the Buhari Administration and obliterate the laudable achievements of the Government,” the Minister told a press conference in Lagos on Sunday.
”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 destabilize the country and trigger chaos,
they will realize their ambition of escaping justice and then be free
to dip their hands into the nation’s treasury again,” he said.
Alhaji Mohammed wondered why the activities of IPOB became heightened with the advent of this Administration, saying: ”If this is
coincidental, then that coincidence is uncanny, at the least. Remember
that 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, has suddenly metamorphosed into an IPOB
monster who will rather set the nation ablaze.”
He said IPOB thrived on exploiting the nation’s fault lines, and that
its modus operandi ”is to trigger conflagration nationwide through
attacks and reprisals”.
”Thankfully, IPOB has failed in its evil machinations. The good
people of Nigeria have seen beyond those cheap tactics and have
avoided being incited against one another. We must remain vigilant and
resolute. We must all say no to the incendiary and divisive tendencies
of IPOB and its cohorts,” he said.
The Minister commended the Nigerian military for labelling IPOB a
terrorist organization and for checkmating the group, and the
South-east Governors for proscribing the organization.
”But for (the military’s) quick and decisive intervention, IPOB could
have set the nation on fire. Thanks to the decisiveness of the
military, today the Governors of the states in the South-east have
wisely proscribed IPOB,” he said.
Alhaji Mohammed accused IPOB of harvesting gory videos from the
distant past and from other lands to deceive the international
community that the people of the South-east are victims of
state-sponsored ethno-sectarian violence, describing such tactics as
”lies and propaganda”.
”Such videos, which have very high emotive quotient, are circulating
on the Social Media. We call on all to subject such videos to the
greatest scrutiny so as not to be misled. In particular, we urge the
international community not to jump to any conclusion on the basis of
such videos,” he said.
The Minister also appealed to the media to show greater restraint and
avoid sensationalism in their reporting of the military exercise,
Operation Python Dance II, in the South-east.
”The divisive and jaundiced opinions of some anarchists have been
given a big play by a section of the media. This is wrong. Let me
remind all of us of the role of the media, especially the radio, in
the 1994 genocide in Rwanda that left about 800,000 people dead,” he
said, adding that the Nigerian media cannot afford to sit on the fence
or engage in irresponsible journalism when the issue at stake is the
very survival of the nation.