The apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, has described the call by the President, Muhammadu Buhari on Western countries to label the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra as a terrorist organisation as tragic.
Ohanaeze reminded the President his actions lit the flame for the agitation for a separate state by members of IPOB and others in the South-East, describing IPOB as a product of injustice.
Buhari had, in interview granted to Bloomberg, urged “international allies to take additional step to proscribe IPOB and designate it as a terrorist organisation.”
He was quoted to have “pleaded with Nigeria’s international partners, especially the United States and the United Kingdom to block the group from the international financial network.”
Reacting in a statement on Wednesday, the spokesman for Ohanaeze, Dr Alex Ogbonnia, said what IPOB was asking for is very clear; “treat us as partners in the Nigerian project or allow us to go.”
Ohanaeze, in the statement titled, “IPOB as a product of injustice,” said: “It is most expedient to enlighten the general public that what IPOB is asking for is the parting words of a Nigerian titan, the Maitama Sule imperatives, to President Buhari when he led the Northern Leaders Forum to congratulate him shortly after his victory in the 2015 general elections.”
The statement read in part, “What I think IPOB is asking for is very clear: treat us as partners in the Nigerian project or allow us to go”.
“On the other hand, how can one explain the obvious lopsidedness in the appointment of military and paramilitary personnel to head the following organisations with little or no considerations for the people of the South-East region; Nigerian Army, Nigerian Air Force, Nigerian Navy, Nigeria Police Force, Department of State Security, National Intelligence Agency, Nigeria Correctional Service, Nigeria Immigration Service and Nigeria Customs Service; and several others.
“On the other hand, as Maitama Sule predicted the orchestrated alienation of the South-East region from the centre of power as the cause of the agitation in the region.
“The Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, led by Ambassador Professor George Obiozor, has repeatedly stated that a people denied justice may not have interest in peace.