IPOB rejects allegation as Buhari blames group
The president, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retired), accused a secessionist group, the indigenous peoples of Biafra, of vandalizing oil pipelines and other infrastructure.
Buhari, who said this in an interview with Bloomberg, said that although his regime started scrapping fuel subsidies last year, he found those measures were unsustainable.
IPOB Media and Publicity Secretary Emma Powerful, in an interview with The PUNCH, dismissed the chairman’s allegation that the group was vandalizing pipelines, calling the claim laughable.
Founded in 2012 by Nnamdi Kanu, the IPOB campaigns for the restoration of the Republic of Biafra.
On June 29, 2021, the Nigerian government announced that Kanu had been re-arrested. He was then arraigned again and remanded to the Department of State Services.
In the interview with Bloomberg, Buhari lamented that crime is hampering oil production, adding that the country has stepped up its efforts in the fight against oil theft and vandalism.
He said: “Crime and terrorism in oil-producing regions are hampering production, and it would be helpful if our Western allies designated IPOB as a terrorist group, given their complicity in damaging pipelines and infrastructure.
He said government efforts in tackling oil theft were successful
“These efforts are having an impact: wells that had to be closed due to crime have now reopened. Thanks to these efforts, OPEC has raised our quota for next month.
“We have invested in our security forces, including through the billion-dollar military agreement with the United States for the acquisition of the A-29 Super Tucano aircraft.
“These efforts are having an impact: wells that had to be closed due to crime have now reopened. Thanks to these efforts, OPEC has increased our quota for next month.
Last month, The PUNCH reported that Nigeria was unable to produce around 22.658 million barrels of crude oil valued at 1.22 tn N in the first quarter of this year due to its continued failure to meet the quota. of crude oil production approved for the country by OPEC.
Responding to Buhari’s allegation, IPOB spokesperson Mighty said it was “funny” and “laughable”.
He said that the only interest of the group was the actualization of the “Biafra freedom struggle” and nothing else.
He said IPOB management is studying Buhari’s comments and will respond appropriately.
A leading Igbo intellectual body, Akeanga, has called the president’s demand that the West designate IPOB a terrorist group as flawed.
Meanwhile, the president also spoke about the fuel subsidy in his interview with Bloomberg. He said: “Most Western countries today have fuel subsidies. Why would we delete ours now? What’s good for the goose is good for the gander.
“What our Western allies learn the hard way is what looks good on paper and the human consequences are two different things. My government set in motion plans to remove the subsidy late last year. After further consultation with stakeholders and as events unfolded this year, such a decision became increasingly untenable.
According to Buhari, increasing domestic production of refined products in Nigeria would stabilize prices, pointing out that the exchange rate is always sensitive to external shocks that can suddenly and severely affect Nigerian citizens.