President Muhammadu Buhari administration has expressed its displeasure over the ongoing collaboration between separatist groups, Yoruba Nation and Indigenous People of Biafra.
The Presidency also expressed worries over attempts to disrupt the Mr Buhari’s visit to New York for this year’s United Nations General Assembly by the two groups.
Garba Shehu, the president’s spokesman, raised the alarm in a statement on Wednesday in Abuja, saying it was regrettable that Yoruba Nation advocates are in cahoots with IPOB which the regime has outlawed.
Shehu opined that it was wrong for agitators of Yoruba Nation to associate themselves with an outlawed organisation like IPOB to destroy the image of Nigeria abroad.
According to him, for Nigerian diaspora groups to use the world’s largest platform – the United Nations General Assembly – to garner attention to their causes is not unexpected.
”It was, however shocking, to see “Yoruba Nation” advocates yesterday unequivocally throw their lot in with Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).
”IPOB is a designated terrorist organisation. It has now publicly revealed a 50,000 strong paramilitary organisation.
”It regularly murders security services and innocent civilians, with a significant uptick of violent attacks this year. And it is currently attempting to hold Nigerian states hostage with orders to stay at home under threat of terror.
“Without doubt, Nigerians and the entire world will judge Yoruba Nation by the company it keeps.
”No one can take this organisation seriously if it continues its IPOB association.
When their allies systematically trample human rights, it raises sober questions about their claims to uphold the values of the UN.
”The cooperation is a worrying development, once parsed with Yoruba Nation’s increasingly violent rallies in Nigeria.
”Actions and associations speak louder than words. Yoruba Nation’s talk of human rights promotion must therefore be ignored,” he said.
The Buhari regime summarily labelled IPOB a terrorist organisation in September 2017 via an ex parte ruling secured by Attorney General Abubarkar Malami at the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court.
State forces have since continued a brutal crackdown against IPOB operatives who have also continued to stage demonstrations which are sometimes deemed violent.
On the other hand, Yoruba Nation agitators, who have been holding largely peaceful rallies across the South-West saw their last rally in Lagos forcefully dispersed by state agents.
This was after the Ibadan residence of their leader, Sunday ‘Igboho’ Adeyemo was invaded by officers of the State Security Service, killed two persons, arrested 12 and destroyed properties worth millions.
Igboho who fled the country afterwards was arrested in Benin Republic en route Germany.
He is still held in Beninese jail for visa related matters, amid diplomatic pressure for his repatriation to Nigeria.
IPOB leader Nnamdi Kanu is also in SSS detention since he was repatriated from Kenya under conditions shrouded in secrecy.
Mr Shehu, however, maintained that the Nigerian government would continue its work at the UN- to fight against corruption and illicit financial flows, and international cooperation.
He said: ”If we want to see stolen funds returned to their rightful home in Nigeria, the government must continue to campaign for and coordinate global action on asset recovery,” he added.
The presidential aide assured that the Nigerian government would remain the leading regional actor in the fight against global terror – particularly against threats emanating from the Sahel.
He further revealed that the administration was implementing a programme of environmental sustainability to combat developments which destroys Nigerian communities in vulnerable regions.
”Only through the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development can we secure a prosperous future for Nigeria.
”As the largest country in Africa, the government takes its leadership role seriously and will continue to strive for continental unity, cooperation, and shared prosperity.
”Our expectation is therefore for the media to work with the government to focus attention on the core issues the President, the leader of the country has on his programme,” he said.