President Muhammadu Buhari has urged western allies to designate the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) as a terrorist organization.
The Nigerian president made the call during an interview with Bloomberg on Tuesday.
Buhari also accused IPOB of vandalizing oil pipelines and other infrastructure in the country.
He lamented that criminality was hindering oil production, adding that the country had stepped up its efforts in combating oil theft and vandalism.
Reacting to this, IPOB Media and Publicity Secretary, Emma Powerful, dismissed the President’s allegation that the group was vandalizing pipelines, describing the claim as laughable.
While addressing questions concerning the country’s security issues during the interview, Buhari stated that his administration acquired fighter jets from the United States and engaged in intelligence sharing with the United Kingdom to prosecute the war against insurgency in the country.
He noted that previous administrations did not enjoy such privileges from the West.
Buhari said terrorists no longer hold any territory in Nigeria unlike what obtained in 2015 when “Boko Haram held territory the size of Belgium within the borders of Nigeria.”
The President also claimed that “the leader of ISWAP (Islamic State’s West Africa Province) was eliminated by a Nigerian Airforce airstrike in March,” and other leaders of terrorist organizations in the country were deceased.
“In 2015, Boko Haram held territory the size of Belgium within the borders of Nigeria. Today they are close to extinct as a military force. The leader of ISWAP was eliminated by a Nigerian Airforce airstrike in March. The jets acquired from the US and intelligence shared by British were not provided to previous administrations and stand as testament to renewed trust re-built between Nigeria and our traditional western allies under my government.
“We urge those same international partners to take additional steps costing them nothing, by proscribing another group – IPOB – as a terrorist organization,” Buhari said.