The Presidency has accused the separatist group, Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), of stockpiling arms and bombs across the country to wage war against Nigeria, hence must be dealt with accordingly.
The accusation came in response to a recent report by Amnesty International (AI) which accused the Federal Government of using security forces’ to clamp down on members of IPOB with arbitrary arrests, detentions, disappearances and extrajudicial executions in the South East and South-South of the country.
AI specifically questioned the whereabouts of at least 50 suspected members of IPOB arrested in Oyigbo, Rivers State, by Nigerian security personnel since October and November last year.
However, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, accused the human rights body of taking sides with IPOB, a designated terrorist group in Nigeria, against the liberty and safety of other innocent Nigerians.
According to Shehu in a statement on Wednesday: “Speaking the language of universal human rights, Amnesty International deploys it only in defence – even outright promotion – of those that violently oppose the Federal Government of Nigeria.
“Parroting the line of Nnamdi Kanu and IPOB, a proscribed terror organisation, they work to legitimise its cause to Western audiences. This puts them in bad company.
“Controversial American lobbyists are paid hundreds of thousands of dollars annually to do the same, laundering IPOB’s reputation in Washington DC.
“IPOB murder Nigerian citizens. They kill police officers and military personnel and set government property on fire. Now, they have amassed a substantial stockpile of weapons and bombs across the country.
“Were this group in a western country, you would not expect to hear Amnesty’s full-throated defence of their actions. Instead, there would be silence or mealy-mouthed justification of western governments’ action to check the spread of terrorism.”
Shehu said the international NGO was being used as cover for the organisation’s local leaders to pursue their self-interests.
“Amnesty International has no legal right to exist in Nigeria. It must open a formal investigation into the personnel that occupy their Nigerian offices”, he added.
Shehu said the Nigerian government would therefore, combat terrorism with all the means at its disposal and ignore the misplaced concerns of Amnesty International.