The Indigenous People of Biafra has described the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, as the spokesman for groups terrorising and tormenting Nigerians for justifying the proscription of IPOB and granting of amnesty to bandits and terrorists.
IPOB described Mohammed’s comment as disgraceful, saying the world should hold him accountable for defending terrorists and offering them amnesty in the country.
The IPOB media and publicity secretary, Emma Powerful, told SaharaReporters on Thursday that the minister should be ashamed of himself for making such utterances.
Mohammed had earlier said bandits cannot be proscribed in Nigeria because they do not have any identity or name they identify with as a group.
The minister said this on AIT’s Kaakaki programme on Wednesday, explaining that proscribing bandits in the country is not what really matters but how they are treated.
According to him, bandits and others who challenge the security of a nation cannot be legally proscribed since they do not have an identity.
He said, “You proscribe known groups with names. You can’t just proscribe an unknown group legally. Secondly, it’s not whether they are proscribed or not, it is the way they are treated. Does the government actually treat them with kid gloves? The answer is no.”
Speaking on the proscription of IPOB by the Nigerian government, Mohammed pointed out that there is a difference between the bandits and the group, noting that “When a group is championing a course for the disintegration of Nigeria… A group like IPOB (that) does not even recognise Nigeria as a state, sets up its own army and thinks it is a sovereign state, is different from bandits and criminals. Please, don’t compare apples and oranges.”
But when asked if the bandits do not also threaten the sovereignty of Nigeria by taking up arms against its citizens, Mohammed described the cases are completely different from each other.
He said, “Security challenges are one thing. Challenging the sovereignty of Nigeria is a completely different thing. Don’t let us dwell on semantics.”
Also speaking on Wednesday, Mohammed said Mohammed said it was unfair to criticise the Zamfara State Governor, Bello Matawalle, for granting amnesty to bandits who once terrorised the North-West state.
He said, “When you are fighting insurgency, you use both kinetic and non-kinetic (means). Granting amnesty to notorious drug barons, notorious militants is not a new thing, it is not unique to Nigeria.
“You need to be in the shoes of the Zamfara State government or governor to appreciate the issues at stake (and) why he has done that. Don’t also forget that the state governors are their own chief security officers.
“When you are dealing with insurgency, kidnapping, banditry, you are interested in the bigger picture; how do we restore peace? If granting amnesty to one notorious kidnapper is going to give me peace in my state, I might take that decision. If granting amnesty to one repentant warlord would help me capture a thousand bandits, I might take that decision. Don’t just look at what is in the public place, understand the very high complexity of managing insurgency and banditry.
“The governor of a state understands the dynamics of the state and takes decisions but it will be unfair of us to criticise him (Matawalle) without knowing what he did and I want to believe the governors work together with the security forces in their own state, so, it is not as we think.”
Zamfara state government recently granted amnesty to Auwalun Daudawa, the leader of the gang of bandits that abducted over 300 schoolboys in the Kankara Local Government Area of Katsina State late last year.
Daudawa and his gang on December 11, 2020 invaded the school, shooting indiscriminately to scare residents. The operation led to the disappearance of over 300 students.
Speaking on Mohammed’s comments on Thursday, Powerful said, “The Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) ably led by our great leader, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, has noted with great amusement, a disgraceful statement credited to the zoo’s Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed, that he supports amnesty for bandits.
“Lai Mohammed should be ashamed of himself for advocating amnesty for murderous bandits but justifying proscription for peaceful agitators.
“Lai Mohammed shamelessly justified Nigeria’s black market proscription of a peaceful movement like IPOB instead of bandits and other terrorist groups rampaging in the North and ravaging the South. This is the height of hypocrisy! This latest reckless statement by no less a person than the Information Minister has confirmed our leader’s position that Nigeria is a terrorist-sponsoring nation.”
Powerful further condemned the minister and the Nigerian government for making it comfortable for terrorists to thrive in the country while peaceful agitators like the outlawed IPOB and its members are victimised.
“Nigeria is in bed with terrorists but up in arms against innocent citizens agitating for freedom. IPOB never declared any war against Nigeria or her citizens yet it was unilaterally proscribed and banished by the government. But bandits have been on a killing spree of innocent indigenous citizens of Nigeria yet the same government is seeking amnesty for the bloodsuckers. What a disgraceful irony!
“Victims of Fulani bandits, herdsmen and terrorists have always borne the brunt alone without any succour from the government. Instead of seeking ways to bring these criminals to book, Lai Mohammed and his fellow terrorist sponsors are busy looking for ways to compensate their foot soldiers.
“Lai Mohammed has simply confirmed to the whole world that Nigerian government and her partners in crime are the key sponsors of the numerous killer squads and terrorists terrorising the country. The whole world must take note of this man who has consistently defended terrorists in Nigeria.
“Alhaji Lai Muhammadu has shown and presented himself as the spokesman for bandits. He has never hidden his soft spot for terrorists. The world must hold him accountable for the atrocities of Fulani bandits and terrorists ravaging Nigeria. When the chips are down, the masterminds of terrorism in Nigeria must stand trial for their evil actions.”