Alhaji Lai Mohammed has accused some people in the state who they termed treasury looters, and disgruntled politicians who they claimed are ones sponsoring the Indigenous People of Biafra to destabilise and disarrange the peace of the country.
Lai Mohammed said that the group IPOB serve no other aim but to make sure that the country Nigeria is not at rest due to their agitations and killings.
Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the Minister of Information and Culture, made these statements during a Press Conference on Sunday 12th September 2017.
Alhaji Lai Mohammed said: 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 destabilise the country and trigger chaos, they will realise their ambition of escaping justice and then be free to dip their hands into the nation’s treasury again.
The past few days have been a trying one for Nigeria with the activities of the so-called Indigenous People of Biafra reaching a crescendo and threatening the unity of our dear nation, Nigeria.
A ragtag mob that calls itself IPOB and its gullible supporters felt they could seize a large swathe of the Nigerian territory, set up parallel military and para-military organisations, mount road blocks and even confront the Nigerian military. Their leader openly solicits weapons and incites hatred and violence.
Some of the group’s atrocities have been well documented by the military, which has labelled IPOB a terrorist organisation. They include the formation of a Biafra Secret Service, claimed formation of Biafra National Guard, unauthorised blocking of public access roads; extortion of money from innocent civilians at illegal roadblocks, and possession and use of weapons (stones, Molotov cocktails, machetes and broken bottles among others) on a military patrol on 10 September 2017.
The minister went on to say that on September 11th, 2017, IPOB engaged themselves in a physical confrontation with the Military at a checkpoint, where he stated that the members of IPOB tried to snatch rifles from the Military so that they will use it to attack the Military checkpoint on 12th September 2017.
No nation, not Nigeria, will allow that to happen unchallenged. The fact that Boko Haram festered because it was not decisively tackled by the immediate past administration meant we should never again give room for any organisation to threaten the corporate existence of our country.
But for its quick and decisive intervention, IPOB could have set the nation on fire. The governors of the states in the South-East have wisely proscribed IPOB. This step, though long overdue, is still commendable.
He added that the wounds caused by the IPOB on the Nation Nigeria would heal in due time.
The minister noted,
But while that happens, Nigerians must understand that IPOB was not set up to fight for the right of anyone or group, but as a tool to destabilise the nation, divert attention from the efforts of the Buhari administration and obliterate the laudable achievements of the administration.
The activities of IPOB became heightened with the advent of this administration, and have been unrelenting since then. 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.
Has anyone wondered why IPOB decided to up the ante, so to say, in its violent campaign immediately it was announced that Nigeria has come out of recession? Now, instead of the government being given a chance to consolidate on that monumental achievement, it is being distracted, and the airwaves have been polluted with the activities of IPOB.
He added, “The self-imposed IPOB leader, Nnamdi Kanu, is the master of hate speech. No one, including the same people whose rights he claimed to be championing, escaped his vitriolic and primitive attacks. We challenge all his sympathisers to scrutinise his incendiary, divisive and inciting speeches, the name calling and the derogatory remarks about the nation’s leaders, and then tell the nation if such do not constitute hate speech.
Leaders of thought and commentators, who have shown the inclination to accommodate Kanu and his excesses, should say if this is what they expect from someone who wants to lead.
As the bloodied and battered IPOB staggers around, we must warn the nation against the group’s next line of action, which is to externalise their lies and propaganda. Now they are writing to the government and the national parliaments of some western nations to give the impression that they are victims of an ethno-sectarian violence orchestrated by the government. Hence they need protection. This is a blatant lie.
It is not on the agenda of this administration to suppress its citizens for whatever reasons. Not even the excesses of some people on the social media have forced the government to do anything that will stifle press freedom or freedom of expression
The Federal Government went on to accuse IPOB of releasing fake videos on social media which have gone viral making the public to believe their false lies especially the International Communities, to make them believe that they are victims of State-Sponsored violence.
According to the Minister of Information and Culture, he said the video’s circulation online have emotive quotient and urge Nigerians not to be misled by those released fake videos on the internet.
We call on all to subject all 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 also appealed the media to restrain at this time especially in reporting issues concerning the group IPOB. He said this because of Military exercise in the South-East tagged Óperation Python Dance II’, had been sensationalized by a section of the media.
He urged Nigerians to be on watch and always say NO to the mechanization of the IPOB and its accomplice. He also noted that the plans of the Indigenous People of Biafra have failed as their plans are being known and would be avoided especially now that the Nigerian Army has declared them a terrorist organization.