Designate IPOB Terror Organisation, FG Urges International Community

  • 45 Boko Haram members convicted, jailed 3 to 31 years 
  • National Scandal

By Olawale Ajimotokan

The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed has called on Nigeria’s international partners to designate the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) a terrorist organisation.

This is coming on the heels of the conviction and sentencing of 45 Boko Haram members to between 3 and 31 years in jail, following the conclusion of the first phase of the trial in Niger State.

The minister made the call for the designation of IPOB as a terrorist organisation in an article, entitled ”Thwarting Terrorism in Nigeria”, which appeared in the United States Washington Times newspaper yesterday.

Mohammed argued that IPOB’s actions qualified the group as a terrorist organization in most jurisdictions.

“The terror lays bare their opportunism. They masquerade as a separatist movement, yet they endanger the very people they claim to represent. In reality, IPOB cares about IPOB and nothing more,” Alhaji Mohammed said.

Using the words of IPOB leader Nnamdi Kanu, such as “If they fail to give us Biafra, Somalia will look like a paradise compared to what will happen to that ‘zoo’ (Nigeria).” “I don’t want peaceful actualisation of Biafra”; “We need guns and we need bullets”; “If they don’t give us Biafra, they will die,” the minister explained that IPOB is a terrorist organization like ETA in Spain, the Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka, and the PKK is in Turkey, all of whom are proscribed by the U.S. State Department.

Mohammed stated that the Buhari administration would not make the same mistake as the previous government “by allowing terrorists to capture land.”

“The government reiterates its appeal to its international partners to proscribe the organisation, and in doing so, starve it of the funds which gives it sustenance. Nigeria has just defeated one preventable terrorist insurgency. This one must not be given the chance to get a foothold,” the minister writes. 

45 Boko Haram Members Convicted, Jailed 3 to 31 Years

Meanwhile, a Federal High Court sitting in Kainji, Niger State, has convicted and sentenced 45 Boko Haram members to between 3 and 31 years in jail, following the conclusion of the first phase of the trial during which 575 Boko Haram suspects were arraigned.

In a statement issued in Abuja yesterday, the Minister of Information and Culture said the court also discharged 468 suspects who had no case to answer.

Thirty-four cases were struck out while 28 suspects were remanded for trial in Abuja and Minna.

The Court ordered that the 468 discharged persons should undergo de-radicalization and rehabilitation programmes before being handed over to their respective state governments.

The trial commenced with the formal remand by the Court of 1,669 suspects for a period of 90 days, with the court ordering that they be arraigned within the specified period or released unconditionally.

The Court adjourned the trial of other suspects to January 2018.