Thousands of Abia citizens and ion the Southeast have lauded the British Government for refusing to be led by the nose by the Nigerian Government under Muhammadu Bahari in tagging the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) a terrorist organization.
Many people in Abia and Umuahia as well as those in Enugu, Awka, Abakiliki and Owerri interviewed by our Reporter said the blatant refusal to classify the separatist group as a terror group shows that the British Government and indeed the entire world have seen that what the group is pursuing is justified, adding that the members are not violent in any form but campaign for the end of the wrongs meted out to the Igbo.
A random sampling done by our Reporter via phone, showed that virtually everybody interviewed believed that successive governments in Nigeria, particularly the regime of President Buhari have been unfair to the Igbo, a development IPOB decided to ask for a separate state outside Nigeria.
Dr Charles Chinekezie, a human rights and pro democracy activist said the timely rebuttal has given hope to the freedom fighters across the country that they have hope ensuring the evil meted out to them will be corrected one day.
“It’s timely and it will assuage the feeling of some Southeasters whose plight IPOB is boldly defending”, he observed even as he urged the British Government not to fall to the antics of the enemies of IPOB who want the body to be wrongly tagged in order to use the opportunity to wreck havoc on the Southeast.
Ukandu Okoh in his own contribution accused some elements in the north of sponsoring the mayhem in the Southeast in order to give the separatist group a bad name in the international arena.
“To me, the killings are not carried out by IPOB. Emma Powerful, IPOB spokesman has consistently stated the body is not responsible for the killings. He has queried consistently how they could kill those whom they’ve come out strongly to defend.
“The killings are done by politicians, some members of the security and Fulani Herdsmen and militants from the north. The aim is to give the wrong impression that IPOB is a terror group so that the international community will classify it as such like it did to Fulani Herdsmen and Boko Haram and then haunt them”, he said.
Another respondent to our enquiry lampooned the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) for its unprofessional conduct in airing the fake news without verification from the British Embassy which is a stone throw from its corporate headquarters.
He said, “NTA went as far as interviewing people who shamelessly commended the British Government for tagging IPOB a terrorist organization and asking it to immediately confiscate its asserts in Europe.
“This goes to show how NTA has descended so low, beating the drum of Muhammadu Buhari and other northern irredentists who without justification have pathological hatred on the Igbo. They have been shamed by this denial’.
Meanwhile, the British Government in its swift reaction to the rumour that the government had tagged IPOB a terrorist organization described the report as untrue, adding pointedly that “the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) is not a proscribed organisation in the UK”.
As reported by some mass media, the British High Commission in Nigeria has faulted reports that UK Government has added the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, to the UK’s list of terrorist groups.
This is coming a day after it was reported that UK sought to exclude IPOB members who have committed human rights abuses from its asylum program.
Clarifying its message, British High Commission in Nigeria in a statement made available to newsmen opined: “We are aware of inaccurate reporting circulating in the media and online that the UK Government has added the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) to the UK’s list of terrorist groups or organisations banned under UK law. These reports are untrue. The Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) is not a proscribed organisation in the UK.
The inaccurate reporting relates to the 13 April 2022 publication by the UK Government of a revised Country Policy and Information note (CPIN) on separatist groups in SE Nigeria, including the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB). CPINs provide country of origin information (COl) and analysis of COI for use by UK Government decision-makers handling particular types of protection and human rights claims.
“All asylum and human rights claims made in the UK are considered on their individual facts in accordance with our obligations under the UN Refugee Convention and European Convention on Human Rights, taking into account relevant background country information and case law.
“The CPIN on separatist groups in the South East, including the Indigenous People of Biafra, provides a general assessment of risks faced by individuals belonging to those groups. These assessments are based on an analysis of publicly available country information obtained from a wide range of reliable sources including media outlets; UK and other governments; local, national and international organisations; and non-government organisations.
“This CPIN also acknowledges that the Nigerian government has proscribed IPOB as a terrorist organisation, some members of IPOB have reportedly used violence against the state and members of the public, and advises that persons who have committed human rights abuses must not be granted protection.”
Uche Nwosu is a two time Shell Petroleum PLC award winner in the year 2000;
He won the Shell Award on Investigative Journalism and Environmental Cleanliness.