We don't need international help in handling IPOB crisis – Foreign Affairs Minister
Nigeria’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, says the country does not require any international help to curtail any threats posed by the Independent Peoples of Biafra (IPOB).
Onyeama, at a news conference at the UN headquarters in New York on Friday evening, said the threat from the self-agitation group would be handled.
“IPOB is as of now an internal threat and Nigeria does not need international assistance to resolve it,” the minister said.
According to him, IPOB is different from the Boko Harm terrorists which main aim was to capture territory and to kill innocent people.
“The President is prepared to tell world leaders that the ingredients for a happy, peaceful country are good governance and a strong economy.
“If we can get the economy right and we can get the good governance to our people, we believe that most of our problems would be taken care of.
“We are a country of young people; the majority of our population is under the age of 35 and a lot of them are restless.
“They are restless because of economic opportunities and that is why we have the migration issue.
“A lot of the youths are the product of very bad governance over the years and that has deprived the young people of educational opportunities and job opportunities.
“So Mr president is trying to restructure the country to put in place the bases for good governance.
“Because once you have good governance and your resources are being channeled to where they are supposed to be, which is on development, then you begin to address a lot of issues.”
He said unlike IPOB, Boko Haram was not an internal threat but international, pointing out its allegiance to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
The foreign affairs minister said the position of President Muhammadu Buhari was that the Constitution of the country should be respected.
He cautioned that the country’s democracy was still growing and needed to mature and become stronger to handle some of the democratic challenges.
“The important thing we should be focusing on is nation-building using the existing democratic structures,” the minister said.
According to him, the Buhari’s administration of has an agenda for the country and does not want to be distracted from achieving that agenda.
“I think that Mr President came and had an agenda for the country and you really just don’t want to be distracted from that agenda.
“The economy was in a terrible state when this government came in, we went into recession for the first time in decades and we’re just coming out of that recession.
“We want to keep on that path and we believe that a lot of these issues and challenges in the country have their bases in the economics.
“If we can provide a good living standard and quality of life for our people, all these issues (Biafra agitation) will fall by the way side.
“That is why we must not be distracted from transforming the economy of our country. What I’m saying is that we want to focus on the economy.
“We believe if we can get the economy right, a lot of the young people who feel that Nigeria as presently constituted is not addressing their problems, is not giving them the hope, will change their perspective.”
He said government would continue to respect free speech, human right and the Rule of Law.
Onyeama said that the Nigerian military respect the ‘rule of engagement’ in carrying out its duties.
He said one of the priorities for the Nigerian delegation at UNGA 72 included strengthening human rights institutions and the rule of law.
He explained that Nigeria was on the Board of the UN Human Rights Council and as such was doing everything necessary to promote human rights.
According to him, the country is also committed to addressing all issues relating to human rights violations in any forms.