President Muhammadu Buhari has alleged that the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra(IPOB) are complicit in the damage to crude oil and natural gas pipelines and other major infrastructure.
He made this known in an interview published by Bloomberg on Tuesday, June 21, while responding to a question about his administration’s record on fighting insecurity and corruption.
He said Nigeria is safer than he met in 2015 and prescribing IPOB, a group seeking secession of parts of the Southeast, will improve the situation.
President Buhari said, “In 2015, Boko Haram held territory the size of Belgium within the borders of Nigeria. Today they are close to extinction as a military force. The leader of ISWAP was eliminated by a Nigerian Airforce airstrike in March.
“The jets acquired from the US and intelligence shared by the British were not provided to previous administrations and stand as testament to renewed trust re-built between Nigeria and our traditional western allies under my government.
“We urge those same international partners to take additional steps costing them nothing, by proscribing another group (IPOB) as a terrorist organization.
He further noted that the leadership of IPOB enjoys safe haven in the West, broadcasting hate speech into Nigeria from London, spending millions lobbying members of the US Congress, and freely using international financial networks to arm agitators on the ground. This, according to him, must stop.
When asked about the reason for the drop in the country’s crude oil production, he noted that the IPOB plays a role in pipeline vandalisation.
President Buhari further noted that designating IPOB a terrorist group would address the spate of pipeline vandalism, insisting that the Nnamdi Kanu-led organisation was complicit in pipeline vandalisation.
The Nigerian President disclosed that criminality and terrorism in oil-producing regions has hampered crude oil production, adding that it would be appropriate for the the country’s western allies to designate IPOB as a terrorist group, given their complicity in damage to pipelines and infrastructure.