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Gazette proscribing IPOB seals dialogue

*IPOB activities amount to acts of terrorism and illegality

Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) has officially been proscribed with the Federal Government’s gazette of its ban. This puts to rest speculations of a reversal of the decision as a result of a political solution.

With the gazetting of the proscription, the group ceases to exist by the nation’s law and the government might have ruled out dialogue with Kanu.

A top government source said: “The proscription order was gazetted by the Federal Government on Thursday. So, there is no going back on our position that the organisation remains illegal.

“Whether IPOB is registered abroad or anywhere is immaterial. The most important thing we have achieved is that the terrorist group can no longer operate in this country. The gazette is the climax of the presidential proclamation and the decision of the court on it.

“Any Nigerian or group associating with IPOB is doing so at a greater risk.”

Meanwhile, security agents say they have identified the Nigerian suspected to be operating the proscribed organisation (IPOB) in Paris, France.

The government of France denies this claim.

The Embassy of France said last week said it was surprised by the statement made by the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, indicating that the “financial headquarters” of IPOB is in France”.

“We don’t have any knowledge of a particular presence of IPOB in France and the Nigerian authorities never got in touch with the Embassy on this point. We stand ready to examine any information which could support this statement.

“Furthermore, we would like to reiterate that France actively cooperates with Nigeria in the field of security and that we strongly support the unity of the country”, the statement said.

The government last week said money was being raised from some Nigerians in the diaspora to fund IPOB.

Funds were also raised from events, including a football tournament organised in Senegal, for the banned organisation.

Funds raised from the diaspora Nigerians’ donation and other sources are remitted to an account in Paris from where it is disbursed for the organisation’s activities.  The account holder was not named at the weekend.

A source said: “Security agencies are still conducting more checks before releasing the details on the fellow running the Paris, France account on behalf of IPOB and its leader.

“When the necessary investigation is completed, the findings will be presented to the French government for appropriate action in line with the laws in France.

“These agencies will also trace other accounts in some jurisdictions where funds were remitted into the Paris account.”

Asked if the Federal Government would dialogue or negotiate with the IPOB leader, the source said: “No government will relate with a terrorist organisation. Certainly, any talk of dialogue is remote.”

Following an ex-parte motion by the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of JusticeAbubakar Malami (SAN), Acting Chief Judge of the Federal High Court Justice Abdul Kafarati, last week granted the proscription request.

He restrained “any person or group of persons from participating in any of the group’s activities”.

He ordered the AGF to ensure the publication of the IPOB proscription order in the official gazette and in two national dailies.

He ruled: “That an order, declaring the activities of the respondent – Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) – in any part of Nigeria especially in the South-East and South-South regions of Nigeria amount to acts of terrorism and illegality, is granted.”

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