The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Garba Shehu, has supported the proscription of the Indigenous People of Biafra by the Federal Government.
This followed the approval of the application filed by the government at the Federal High Court in Abuja on Wednesday, seeking to proscribe the group.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Mr Lai Mohammed, had told State House correspondents after the Federal Executive Council meeting that IPOB’s proscription was approved by President Muhammadu Buhari before he travelled for the 72 United Nations General Assembly in New York.
Shehu, who was a guest on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily on Thursday, said government had closely monitored the activities of the group and its inability to embrace dialogue.
“We looked at this organisation, we analysed it, and it fits the description of a terrorist organisation,” he said. “If it fits the description of a terrorist organisation, then it is a terrorist organisation.”
Although the presidential aide admitted that the military by its earlier declaration alerted Nigerians of their own analysis, he, however, revealed the Federal Government was bound to follow up “some processes.”
“That yes, it fits in and as Americans say, ‘If it walks like a duck, it moves like a duck, it looks like a duck, then it is a duck.’
“Therefore, that is it. That is their own description of it. So, the processes we are bound to follow since they are fully aware of the fact that from the point of view of the law, they cannot do what the law does not empower them to do.”
Shehu further explained that IPOB leader, Mr Nnamdi Kanu, had earlier aborted peace moves made by the governors of the five eastern states headed by Governor Dave Umahi of Ebonyi, as well as senators from the region.
He said, “IPOB itself has clearly indicated that they are not interested in dialogue. You know that in the run-up of these processes, the governors of the states in the region had put up a forum, IPOB said, ‘No, thank you, we are not interested.’
“The Senators of the Federal Republic of Nigeria set up a delegation and they said, ‘IPOB we want to speak to you,’ and they said, ‘no, thank you’. Initially yes, it is clear that the leader had himself shut everyone out of the whole process,” he said.
Nigeria’s Minister of State for Petroleum, Dr Ibe Kachikwu, has said that it is not true that the Federal Government has abandoned the people of the Niger Delta region.
The Minister made the clarification on Saturday in an interview at the end of the 2016 Convocation Ceremony of the Petroleum Training Institute (PTI), Effurun, in Delta state.
He explained that the dialogue between the Federal Government and the people of the region to find lasting solutions to the lingering violence and pipeline vandalism in the region was ongoing.
He said that the President was very supportive of the project of ensuring that government reached an agreement with the people through dialogue by ensuring that the old model which failed was restructured.
Meanwhile, the Minister has ordered the award of scholarships and immediate employment to the best graduating students of the Petroleum Training Institute, which according to him is to help them further their education.
The Federal Government on Monday restated its offer to dialogue with members of the fundamentalist group, Boko Haram on the condition that the group renounces violence. The National Coordinator of Counter Terrorism and Counter Insurgency in the office of the National Security Adviser, Major General Sarki Bello (rtd) made the offer at the National Defence College in Abuja.
The event was a visit by the capstone course of the National Defence University in the United States.
The Coordinator of the national counter terrorism and counter insurgency office told the visitors that Nigeria is making significant progress in the fight against terrorism and is doing more to ensure that insurgency is effectively curbed.
Major general Bello said a national counter terrorism policy has been put in place with a plan to set up a national counter terrorism centre to curb terrorist activities in the country.
He also announced the establishment of multinational strategies with Niger, Chad and Cameroun following intelligence reports that Boko Haram camps are in these countries bordering Nigeria.
General Bello expressed optimism that the ceasefire recently declared by the Islamic sect may be effective. He however said members of the sect must renounce violence before any dialogue with the militants.
Speaking on Nigeria’s operation in Mali, the Deputy Commandant of the national defence college said beyond restoring the territorial integrity of Mali, key to Nigeria’s participation in Mali is to contain the in-flock of extremists back in to Nigeria.
While the Nigerian government appreciates that more need to be done in the fight against terrorism, it believes that everything is on course to win the war against terror and extremism.
Following last week’s attack on the Emir of Kano, Ado Bayero, the House of Representatives has called on the executive arm of government to open avenues for dialogue as a means to address the security challenges confronting the country. In a motion presented by a lawmaker representing Kano state, Bashir Galadanchi, the House noted that the approaches being employed by the government to curb insecurity has not been effective.
The house resolved that the executive should initiate programmes that will promote the rule of law and address the factors that fuel insecurity and violent extremism.
The lawmakers commiserated will the Emir of Kano and the families of those who lost their lives in the attack on the Emir.