Nigeria: Citizens Express Fear As Government Indicts France On IPOB Case
Nigerians are expressing fear over the way the Buhari’s administration is handling the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) agitation. The administration is alleging that France is one of the sponsors of IPOB without explaining the source of the allegations.
The country’s minister of information, Mr. Lai Mohammed said France aided IPOB’s activities in the country with financial support “Let me tell you, the financial headquarters of IPOB is in France, we know. It is incontrovertible that some people in the diaspora contribute money to IPOB. We know this as a fact. Again, there are a few knotty diplomatic issues, which you need to skip”.
“I don’t want any diplomatic row. We know for a fact where the funding is coming from and we are going to stop them but it is difficult to stop them and we have been working on it and we will not stop.”
France in a swift reaction denied the allegation by Nigeria information minister that the financial headquarters of the Indigenous People of Biafra is located in that country.
Political Counsellor, Claude Abily of Embassy of France in Nigeria, in a statement in Abuja said he was shocked by the statement attributed to the Minister of Information, Lai Mohamed which claimed that the financial headquarters of IPOB is in France.
“The Embassy of France was surprised by the statement made by the Minister of Information and Culture indicating that the “financial headquarters” of IPOB were in France.
“We don’t have any knowledge of a particular presence of IPOB in France and the Nigerian authorities never got in touch with the Embassy on this point. We stand ready to examine any information, which could support this statement”.
The development, since occurred, has begun to create enormous concern for stakeholders in the country, having understood the impact of France in the African country economy.
Recall that in 2016, with €3.29 billion in bilateral trade, France remains Nigeria’s first trading partner in sub-Saharan Africa.
The French country’s exports €1.16 billion in 2016 include refined petroleum products, pharmaceuticals, mechanical, electric, electronic and computer equipment, and agri-food products.
With French government’s indictment, Nigerians are apprehensive of what the relationship between the two countries may turn if the situation is not well managed.
An economic analyst, Mr. Yeni Elliot, while speaking with Caracal Reports, said Nigerian government needs to caution his cabinet members on speech that can mal relationship with other countries.
“The statement by the minister of information was too expensive. It was a statement that can throw the country into commotion if not handled with care. Though France has debunked it, let’s pray they don’t take it seriously”.
The National President of Ijaw Congress, Mr. Harry Charles, said “Let me state clearly that I found it very disappointing that minister of information of our country can handle a sensitive matter like this with carelessness. This is a matter that concerns your fellow nation at United Nations. I can’t imagine he will come up with an issue that can cause a commotion. Even if he has any suspicion, the ministry of foreign affairs should have reached the French embassy to ventilate their concerns to them. It is very unusual for a minister of information to just come up with such an expensive allegation, not even at a time that the country is facing a lot”.
Meanwhile, Ekiti state governor, Mr. Ayodele Fayose, while speaking with Caracal Reports through his media aide, Lere Olayinka, said “The intentions of the Buhari’s government are not good for the citizenry. If not, how will they involve a foreign country like France in IPOB case? They need to be careful not to plunge the country into a problem at world level”.
The Edo state chairman of the major opposition political party in the country, People Democratic Party, Mr. Dah Orbih, explained that message by the minister of information which indicted France was a true reflection of the government in the country.
“Lai Mohammed’s statement that indicted that IPOB sponsors are from France was a clear indication that the on-going administration is parading ignorant people at the helm of affairs of this country. The minister is not a person whose statement should be taken seriously. I will advise the president to call him to order before he put the country in problems with other nations”.
Meanwhile, a Yoruba elder state man who is a leader of the Afenifere group, a Yoruba pan group, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, has taken a swipe on President Muhammadu Buhari, especially on how the IPOB was handled.
According to him, several groups from the Northern parts of the country have committed offenses that were more severe than the agitation of the IPOB without any sanction.
He added that the system adopted by the president in ruling the country, if not curtailed, may break the country before the end of the year.
“We are in a military regime in the country now. Let us pray to God that we survive this year as a country with all that is happening. The man is ruling us like the military. He doesn’t care what will happen. He doesn’t love this country. With all that has happened in the country, was the IPOB supposed to be declared terrorist organization?
“The Fulani people that were carrying arms, killing people around, invading all parts of the country, he didn’t arrest one of them. He is doing what he likes because he has all the securities in his hand. I plead with former leaders of this country like Gen. Ibrahim Babangida, Abdulsalam Abubakar, Olusegun Obasanjo, Yakubu Gowon, to talk to this man before he sets this country on fire. He is not doing anything to show that he wants to put this country together. He is ruling with impunity. How can anybody declare a group agitating for something a terrorist organization? And when those people that were invading, killing people were on a rampage you didn’t do anything. They openly attack the former secretary to the government of the federation, Olu Falaye, you didn’t do anything.
“This is not a good way to keep a country together, it is only God can keep us together”.