In order to resolve the security challenge posed by the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, one of the many ways to tackle the body is to block its sources of income. To understand the capacity of the group, it is important to appreciate how it gets its funding and to what purpose it puts these funds. Is it funded by Nigerians at home, abroad or even foreigners? What are the status of these Nigerians? Are they politically exposed persons, ordinary folks,business people or criminals? By revealing countries and probable individuals who funnel these funds, it is incumbent on government to make these facts open.
From media reports, it is commendable that the Federal Government will in no distant time make available to the French Government account details of the sponsors of the terrorist group, IPOB. Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, had said that France domiciled a large chunk of IPOB’s finances. Although he did not accuse the government of France of being in the know of such funds, he was clear however that money come in from various places into France for onward transmission to IPOB agents. France has since disputed this assertion, therefore the ball is in the court of the FG to present its intelligence and evidence to the French authorities and Nigerians.
We have passed this road before. During the formative years of the Boko Haram terror group, many Nigerians asked government to provide details of how the organisation funded its activities. There were allegations bandied in the media and in street corners which remained largely conjectures that were never proven. Besides, government never came out to give definite answers to questions on the funding of Boko Haram till date. This is wrong. The country and her citizens deserve to know those who funded Boko Haram so that we can shame them. It their finances were funneled through other countries we deserve to know. It they got arms and ammunition through countries, and individuals, we ought to have been told.
While we await news on Boko Haram we must not allow IPOB slip off our radar. It is important we know those who give money to destabilise the country in the name of agitation for self determination and in the process putting the lives of all Nigerians in jeopardy. The fugitive leader of IPOB,Nnamdi Kanu, has been caught on tape (video and audio) soliciting for money to buy arms to wage a war against Nigeria. In truth, no country worth that description on earth will tolerate such aggression. And having observed that indeed monies are being contributed,it is in the best interest of Nigeria for these names to be made public.
Through the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit and the Central Bank of Nigeria, a compilation of the names and information on the sponsors of IPOB and its war agenda must compulsorily be made public both to the French authorities and other countries so affected. Also, the Special Control Unit against Money Laundering, which is tasked with the mandate of supervising, monitoring and regulating Designated Non-Financial Institutions as regards compliance to Nigeria’s Anti-Money Laundering and Combating the Financing of Terrorism should step up its activities and carry out its role.
Curiously, according to the government sources, there are other countries in the loop for IPOB financing. The countries include: Turkey, Senegal, Malaysia, Hong Kong, United Kingdom and the United States. This is alarming, although not altogether surprising seeing that Kanu had never hidden his preference for armed struggle. And there are many leads to support possible transfer of huge cash to fund IPOB activities. Recent seizures made by the Nigerian Customs of arms coming into the country from Turkey should direct further investigation towards a possible link.
Having solicited for arms and cash, and followed it up with several violent rhetoric, including setting up of various armed forces in Biafra’s name, it will be unfortunate if the Federal Government did not do anything. In fact, it will mean that the government was collaborating with the IPOB. The message must be clear and unequivocal that even if there must be agitations and grievances from individuals and groups, none must be given the latitude to seek to plunge the nation into war. Except for a banana republic, no nation on earth will tolerate some of IPOB’s activities.
We support the government on its decision to block funding for IPOB. We equally support its resolve to bring peace and reconciliation to Igboland. It must go a step further to unravel funders and sponsors of equally divisive organizations in the land.