In a statement signed by the Special Assistant to the President, Garba Shehu, the presidency warned that the IPOB is a designated terrorist organization that has now “publicly revealed a 50,000 strong paramilitary organization”.
Mr Shehu urged the Yoruba secessionist group to quit its association with IPOB because it “regularly murders security agents and innocent civilians, with a significant uptick of violent attacks this year”.
He further explained that the IPOB is attempting to hold Nigerian states hostage with orders to stay at home under threat of terror.
According to the presidential spokesman, there is no doubt that “Nigerians and the entire world will judge Yoruba Nation by the company it keeps”.
Garba Shehu’s comments come as President Muhammadu Buhari prepares to participate in the United Nations General Assembly’s 76th Session in the United States.
The special media aide in his statement on Wednesday noted that it is not unexpected for Nigerian diaspora groups to use the world’s largest platform – the United Nations General Assembly – to garner attention to their causes.
He however, emphasized that it is shocking to see “Yoruba Nation” advocates “unequivocally throw their lot in with Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB)”.
He believes no one can take the Yoruba Nation seriously if it continues its IPOB association, not “when their allies systematically trample human rights”.
These actions, the president’s special assistant argues, “raises sober questions about their claims to uphold the values of the UN”.
He defined the cooperation as a worrying development.
“Actions and associations speak louder than words. Yoruba Nation’s talk of human rights promotion must therefore be ignored,” Mr Shehu opined.
He assured that the Nigerian government will continue its work at the UN – to fight against corruption and illicit financial flows, and international cooperation.
“If we want to see stolen funds returned to their rightful home in Nigeria, the government must continue to campaign for and coordinate global action on asset recovery.
“The government will remain the leading regional actor in the fight against global terror – particularly against threats emanating from the Sahel. Through the Nigerian Technical Aid Corps programme, the country also shares technical expertise with countries from the Caribbean, Africa and the Pacific,” Garba Shehu stated.
In addition, the presidential spokesman disclosed that the administration is implementing a programme of environmental sustainability to combat developments which destroy Nigerian communities in vulnerable regions.
“Only through the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development can we secure a prosperous future for Nigeria.
“As the largest country in Africa, the government takes seriously its leadership role and will continue to strive for continental unity, cooperation, and shared prosperity,” Mr Shehu added.
According to him, the government’s expectation is for the media to work with the government to focus attention on the core issues which the president has on his programme.