Geoffrey Onyeama, Minister of Foreign Affairs, says Nigerian government will “internally” handle the “threat” posed by Nnamdi Kanu and his group, the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).
Onyeama, at a news conference at the UN headquarters in New York on Friday evening, said government does not need input from the international community to respond to threat from Biafra agitators.
“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 was different from the Boko Harm terrorists which main aim was to capture territory and to kill innocent people.
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.
“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 added that the Nigerian military respects the ‘rule of engagement’ in carrying out its duties.
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