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It would be recalled that President Buhari had during an interview with Arise TV on Thursday reiterated that security forces will be mobilised to “pursue” IPOB, a group led by diaspora-based Nnamdi Kanu, which is canvassing for the secession and sovereignty of Eastern Nigeria.
The Nigerian leader said he has been assured by “the elderly people” and “the youths” from the south-south and south-east parts of the country that the regions has no intention of seceding.
He said IPOB will not have “access to anywhere” even if they eventually secede from Nigeria.
Buhari reaffirmed his controversial statement, maintaining: “We’ll talk to them in the language that they understand”.
“I was encouraged by what I heard, nobody told me. Two statements from the south south: one by the elderly people, they said this time around there would be no (secession). And again the youth made the same statement; such encouragement,” Buhari had said.
“So that IPOB is just like a dot in a circle. Even if they want to exit, they’ll have no access to anywhere. And the way they are spread all over the country, having businesses and properties. I don’t think IPOB knows what they are talking about.
“In any case, we say we’ll talk to them in the language that they understand. We’ll organise the police and the military to pursue them.”
But reacting, IPOB, through Emma Powerful, its Media and Publicity Secretary, fired back, saying Buhari’s threats makes them stronger.
“They have been doing that before now, let me tell you threatening cannot change IPOB, he can stay in the Aso Rock threatening Nigerians but not IPOB and ESN,” Powerful said, according to multiple Nigerian news outlets.
“We like threats from anybody, it makes us stronger. Fulani terrorists and their leader’s threat can’t remove or change our resolve to restore Biafra freedom from Nigeria.”
Proscribed IPOB has been agitating for the secession of the south-east and south-south regions. The outlawed group has been fingered as being behind recent attacks on security formations and public properties in Nigeria’s South-South and South-East regions, although the group has continually denied its involvement.