The Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) has surprisingly shown up on this year’s Global Terrorism Index GTI report at the 10th position on the list of terror groups in the world.
Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP), and Boko Haram which have been terrorising northern Nigeria since 2009 were ranked sixth and seventh respectively.
There was no mention of Fulani Herdsmen and other bandit groups operating in Nigeria.
The GTI is produced annually by the Institute for Economics & Peace, Sydney, Australia tracking terrorism activities around the world.
The report may now vindicate President Buhari’s government which had since 2017 proscribed IPOB as terrorists even if the group enjoyed recognition around the world.
IPOB seeks the breakaway of southeast Nigeria as an independent country.
The group reacted angrily to the GTI’s 2023 report.
Their attorney, Ifeanyi Ejiofor, described the report as a “well-orchestrated, high-powered conspiracy between the Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN), its security agencies and the foreign institution involved, at arriving at a stereotyped scripted outcome in their desperate effort to blackmail and demonize IPOB”.
He insists IPOB is a “non-violent group” peacefully pursuing its “globally recognised right to self-determination”.
“What is most surprising, and beyond comprehension, is the fact that at any slightest violent or criminal occurrence/attack in the South-East, and its environs, the Nigerian Security Agencies will immediately call out the IPOB as those responsible for the heinous crimes, without any attempt at investigating the actual state/ non-state actors involved in the alleged crimes.”
“Unarguably, the essence of the FGN pushing this false narrative to the international arena is to twist, and consequently bias their perception of the IPOB, to erroneously accept the dummy being sold to them that IPOB is responsible for the criminal activities, killings and kidnappings going on in the South-East of Nigeria”, Ejiofor said.
The group said it will challenge the “misguided and misinformed ranking” at the “appropriate fora”.
IPOB’s leader Nnamdi Kanu is still incarcerated in government custody in spite of the order of the second highest court in the land ordering his unconditional release.
Southeast Nigeria, known as Biafra by the secessionists ended their campaign of armed struggle for independence from Nigeria in 1970, but their complaints of marginalization and discrimination persist.
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