US government under pressure to designate IPOB a terrorist group

Written by on October 6, 2021

Washington – A report by ThisDay newspaper indicates that there is mounting pressure on the United States government to designate the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) as a terrorist group.

According to the report, an article in the Washington Times recently called on US authorities to designate IPOB a terror organisation following acts of violence and mindless killings linked to the secessionist group.

The article noted that IPOB had curiously sued the US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, and Defence Secretary, Lloyd Austin in a U.S. federal court.

The piece written by the Executive Director of the School of Public and International Affairs at the University of Baltimore, Ivan Sascha Sheehan, expressed displeasure that:

“The violent secessionist group in question – IPOB– is yet to be designated a Foreign Terrorist Organisation (FTO) by the US Department of State.

“This is despite repeated pleas to do so by longstanding U.S. ally, Nigeria, where IPOB is based and carries out its murderous activities.

“It is difficult to explain how U.S. interests are served by inaction and complacency on IPOB. The listing costs nothing. But the designation would have significant implications for the group’s continuance.”

The publication noted that as soon as the designation was applied, no organisation that utilises U.S. currency would be able to legally conduct transactions with the organisation.

It said:

“By cutting off IPOB’s funding, the U.S. would weaken the 50,000 strong paramilitary outfits and provide Nigeria’s security forces room to train their sights squarely on ISIS-affiliated Boko Haram in the northeast of the country.
“Counterterrorism operations against Boko Haram have long been assisted by U.S. agencies working in close coordination with the West African government.”

The report noted that more than 20 attacks were carried out in the first three months of this year alone, including the retribution-style bombing of a state governor’s home, where four were killed, and an attack on a prison that freed some 2,000 dangerous criminals.

Daily Trust newspaper quoted Sheehan as saying the establishment of the Eastern Security Network (ESN) by IPOB signalled the end of the group’s pretenses of being a peaceful movement.

He accused IPOB leader, Nnamdi Kanu of supporting terrorism and issuing threats via Radio Biafra.

Abaribe speaks on agitations in the southeast
Meanwhile, the Senate Minority Leader, Enyinnaya Abaribe, says there are more than 30 separatist organisations in the southeast zone of the country.

Abaribe made the comment on Tuesday, October 5 in an interview aired on Channels Television.

He said the Buhari-led administration might crush secessionist agitators but it would be difficult for the government to crush the ideology behind their agitations until the current administration address the root cause of the problem and embrace dialogue.

Southeast state governors speak on measures to address insecurity

Similarly, southeast governors and leaders on Tuesday, October 5 announced measures to end the rising violence and sit-at-home on Mondays in the region.

The measures include the launch of the Ebubeagu security outfit by the five states in the region before the end of the year.

They also resolved to join forces with security agencies to restore peace to the region and encourage all stakeholders to intervene in the crisis.


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