A civil society group, Centre for Social Justice, Equity and Transparency (CESJET) has condemned in strong terms the refusal of the United States government to recognize the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, as a terrorist group.
The centre said the action was a clear indication that the US was not in support of Nigeria’s unity.
The United States Government had during the weekend said it does not categorize the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) as a terrorist organisation.
Spokesman for the American Embassy in Nigeria, Russell Brooks, stated that the US was committed to Nigeria’s unity and would support a peaceful resolution of any crisis in the country.
Reacting to Brooks’ assertion, CESJET said it was disappointed to learn about the position of the United States Embassy in Abuja, Nigeria to the effect that the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, is not a terrorist group even after a competent Nigerian court has issued an order designating the group as such.
Comrade Isaac Ikpa, Executive Secretary of CESJET said it was wrong of Brooks to meddle in this issue in a way that could jeopardize Nigeria’s security by maintaining that IPOB is not seen under US laws as a terrorist organisation.
Ikpa said, “The assertion ignored the fact that Nigeria is a sovereign nation that does not need the approval of another country to contain terrorists’ threats within its borders.
“The US Embassy must note that Nigeria has every right to prevent known threats from growing same way the US placed travel ban on nationals of eight countries of the world to keep terrorists out of its territories despite the global outcry and international criticisms that did nothing to reverse the action.
“CESJET therefore condemns the US Mission’s decision not to acknowledge that IPOB is a terror group. As opposed to rushing to making such distracting comment the proper thing was to have undertaken an appreciation of the threats posed by IPOB to peace within the West Africa sub region.
“We see the view expressed by the Mission through Russell Brooks as being at variance with US President Donald Trump’s hard-line stance against terrorists irrespective of their geographical location. Anyone or group that threatens the security of a nation, with attendant economic, political and humanitarian crisis, fits into the definition of a terrorist or a terrorist organization and IPOB’s activities have so far confirmed same as witnessed by our security agencies, independent security reports etc.
“The US Embassy in Nigeria must therefore look beyond its text book approach to what is a credible terrorists’ risk to Nigeria to work towards including IPOB in the database of US terrorist organizations. It must be noted that time is running out to do this since IPOB members have steady access to the US and it is a matter of time before they begin to export the evils they commit in Nigeria to that country.
“The US must not be seen as having double standards for treating terrorists. It must therefore ensure that Nigeria’s fight against terrorism, which the US authorities have demonstrated enormous support for in the last two years, is not jeopardized in pursuit of political correctness. The safety of the innocent populations that are likely to become victims of IPOB’s terrorism should rather be above every other interest,” he said.
The group further called on Nigerians to disregard any classification by the United States that conflicts with the position of the law courts and authorities in Nigeria since the relationship between both countries should be collaborative as opposed to the colonial imperialist bondage seared into the consciousness of some people.