The United States Government has distanced itself from the brutal repression of the agitation for justice and fair-play by the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB by the President Muhammadu Buhari Government, saying it does not consider IPOB a terrorist organization.
The spokesman for the American Embassy in Nigeria, Russell Brooks, made the clarification on Friday when he responded to a question by the Punch newspaper. He said categorically that the US government does not view IPOB as a terrorist group.
Mr. Brooks however said that the US is committed to Nigeria’s unity and would support a peaceful resolution of any crisis in the country.
He said, “The United States Government is strongly committed to Nigeria’s unity. Important political and economic issues affecting the Nigerian people, such as the allocation of resources, are worthwhile topics for respectful debate in a democracy.
“Within the context of unity, we encourage all Nigerians to support a de-escalation of tensions and peaceful resolution of grievances. The Indigenous People of Biafra is not a terrorist organisation under US law.”
But the US Embassy did not say whether the Federal Government had urged it to treat IPOB as a terrorist organization and to block money sent to IPOB from the United State. Neither did Brooks state the US’ position on the agitation for a Biafran state.
On Wednesday, Justice Abdu Kafarati of Federal High Court in Abuja issued a controversial order that shocked legal scholars, when he hurriedly granted an exparte application by the Nigeria Government, proscribing IPOB and declaring it a terror group.
The Federal Government had also accused France and the United Kingdom of aiding IPOB activities, without giving details that led it to arrive at that conclusion.
Meanwhile IPOB, through Nnamdi Kanu’s attorney, Ifeanyi Ejiofor on Friday filed a suit, challenging its proscription and the terrorist tag.
The refusal of the US government to see IPOB as a terror group is a major blow to the Buhari Government in its attempt to discredit the pro-Biafra group internationally.