By Nnamdi Okosieme
The Nigerian Presidency has expressed worry over the seeming chummy relations between the Yoruba nation and the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB).
A statement on Wednesday by presidential spokesman, Garba Shehu, expressed shock at the decision by advocates of the “Yoruba Nation” to “unequivocally throw their lot in with Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB)”.
The Nigerian government has declared IPOB, which the establishment of the state of Biafra, a terrorist organization, a decision criticized by many Nigerians following The refusal of the Buhari administration to so classify the Fulani herdsmen accused of raping, kidnapping and murdering Nigerians in their numbers.
The statement by the presidential spokesman is coming on the eve of plans by local Nigerian and Diaspora based groups to use the United Nations General Assembly as platform to draw attention to their quest for self-determination.
The statement, re-iterated the government’s position that IPOB remained a terrorist organization, which has a 50,000 strong paramilitary organization, which “murders security services and innocent civilians, with a significant uptick of violent attacks this year. And it is currently attempting to hold Nigerian states hostage with orders to stay at home under threat of terror”.
The presidential spokesman noted that Nigerians and the entire world will judge Yoruba Nation by the company it keeps.
“No one can take seriously this organisation if it continues its IPOB association. When their allies systematically trample human rights, it raises sober questions about their claims to uphold the values of the UN. The cooperation is a worrying development, once parsed with Yoruba Nation’s increasingly violent rallies in Nigeria. Actions and associations speak louder than words. Yoruba Nation’s talk of human rights promotion must therefore be ignored”, the statement said.
The Presidency said despite the partnership between the groups, the Nigerian government will continue its work at the UN- to fight against corruption and illicit financial flows, and international cooperation.
“If we want to see stolen funds returned to their rightful home in Nigeria, the government must continue to campaign for and coordinate global action on asset recovery. The government will remain the leading regional actor in the fight against global terror – particularly against threats emanating from the Sahel. Through the Nigerian Technical Aid Corps programme, the country also shares technical expertise with countries from the Caribbean, Africa and the Pacific”, the Presidency said.
It added that in addition to checking corruption and illicit financial flows, the Buhari administration is implementing a programme of environmental sustainability to combat developments which destroys Nigerian communities in vulnerable regions.
It said only through the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development can a prosperous future be secured for Nigeria.
“As the largest country in Africa, the government takes seriously its leadership role and will continue to strive for continental unity, cooperation, and shared prosperity. Our expectation is therefore for the media to work with the government to focus attention on the core issues the President, the leader of the country has on his Programme.