Chris Steven, Abuja
A civil society group, Centre for Social Justice, Equity and Transparency (CESJET) has hailed the declaration of the proscription and designation of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) as a terror group.
The centre said step taken by the Nigerian military authorities as well as the south eastern governors on the activities of the pro-Biafra agitators were quite commendable and a welcome development.
Recall that the Defence headquarters had thjough its spokesperson, Majo Gen John Enenche had during the weekened labeled the Nnamdi Kanu-led IPOB group as a terror squad.
Consequently, governors from south eastern part of the country also proscribed the activities of the separatist group.
Speaking on the development, Isaack Ikpa, the National Cordinator of CESJET, implored the governors to further back the proscription order up with actions.
Ikpa added that they must immediately audit their cabinets to identify IPOB supporters and sympathizers in their folds since such people can sabotage them from inside
He said, “CESJET lauds the Nigerian Military for taking the bold step and doing the needful by declaring IPOB as what it is as only an institution that has the interest of the country at heart could have marshaled such political will. We commend the Army for its decision to launch Operation Python Dance II, which we believe would flush out the criminal elements that usually make life unbearable for Nigerians in this part of the country.
CESJET commend the South-East Governors for daring to proscribe IPOB even when they are daily blackmailed politically with threats of being labeled as traitors of their ethnicity. We implore the governors to back the proscription order up with actions. They must immediately audit their cabinets to identify IPOB supporters and sympathizers in their folds since such people can sabotage them from inside. The governors should charge traditional and religious leaders within their states to walk back the inflammatory support they had given the terror group in the past.
“We however note that the Governors did not prescribe any punishment for these terrorists for the evil they had brought upon the land in the last few years. There was neither any indication as to what would happen to anyone that continues to carry out activities under the name of IPOB.
“Furthermore, nothing was said of the other franchises that the terrorists use to operate, like the Biafra Zionists Movement. They did not talk about their sponsors and sources of funding. There was no mention of justice for the innocent Nigerians killed by these miscreants in the last few days. These are questions still begging for answers.
Speaking futher, the CESJET boss added that the South-East Governors must therefore be categorical in the terms of reference that security agencies will act upon to enforce the proscription of the group.
His words, “We also observed that there was no call for the immediate arrest of Nnamdi Kanu as the leader of IPOB terrorist group or any other person who goes out in the name of the group or its violent agitation. All these people, including the lawyer to Kanu, are accomplices that must be treated as such.
“We make these points because the serpent of terrorism has only been struck as far as the IPOB monster is concerned. The head of the snake has not been cut off so the country cannot afford to be complacent at this point. Since the designation of IPOB as a terror organization is merely a first step in restoring sanity to that part of Nigeria, other steps necessary for peace and confidence building must be immediately activated.”
The centre further called on the Attorney General of the Federation to in line with the Terrorism Prevention (Amended) Act 2013 take the necessary steps to nationalize and gazette the decision of the South-East Governors, stressing that such move would ensure that the terrorists no longer torment the peace of anyone in the name of IPOB anymore.
He added, “The National Assembly, the Presidency (Executive) and the Judiciary should adopt a common front in dealing with the menace of IPOB as a terror group by taking all the steps expected of them. No room should be left for these terrorists to maneuver or manipulate the system to continue intimidating and threatening citizens. Since IPOB reportedly enjoyed massive financial, intellectual and political support from highly placed persons from the South-East, we proposed that the Federal Government delivers an amnesty package for those who funded or supported IPOB up until Friday September 15, 2017 to offer them the chance of distancing themselves from the terror group. Anyone subsequently found to be aiding and abetting the group should be treated in accordance with the Terrorism Prevention (Amended) Act 2013.
“The international dimension must not be neglected. The designation of IPOB as a terrorist group should be strongly communicated to the United Nations General Assembly in New York. The world must be urged to designate IPOB as an International Terror Group since it has presence in Germany, United Kingdom, United States and other countries. This is important to ensure that fleeing IPOB members do not regroup in any of these countries to plot attacks against Nigeria.”