THE Presidency has said that it will not condone attempts by groups or individuals to build armoury or undermine the country’s unity.
This was contained in a statement signed by the Senior Special Assistant to the Nigeria President on Media & Publicity Garba Shehu on Tuesday evening.
“It must be highlighted that the government respects fundamental rights of citizens to express their views and recognizes this as a democratic tenet.
“However, any attempt to build an Armoury coupled with plans either subtle or expressed to undermine our unity as a nation will not be condoned,” Shehu wrote.
The statement commended the Nigerian security and intelligence agencies for the re-arrest of the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) Nnamdi Kanu and an attack on Yoruba activist Sunday Adeyemo, popularly known as Sunday Igboho.
The Presidency said the agencies must be applauded for their ‘demonstrated significant deftness, guile and secrecy in carrying out the missions.’
On Kanu’s arrest, the statement read that violence allegedly inspired by IPOB had led to hundreds of fatalities, particularly targeted at government assets and law enforcement agents.
“Additionally, there have been, at last count, fifty-five (55) separate violent attacks, heavily concentrated in the South-East, which heaped further hardship on our honest and hardworking citizens, preventing them from earning their livelihood and going about their normal lives,” the statement read in part.
The statement further said that it had reasons to believe that IPOB’s funding sources included proceeds of suspected illicit criminal activities.
it noted that the residence of Igboho was also ‘raided’ by the State Security Service (SSS) due to alleged conduct of acts of ‘terror and disturbance of peace under the guise of protecting fellow kinsmen.’
The statement also said the president’s directive on those carrying arms, ‘particularly AK-47,’ was clear and required no further illumination.
The SSS operatives, last week, attacked the residence of Igboho in Oyo State, which led to the death of seven persons.
The SSS spokesman Peter Afunanya told journalists later that the raid was based on intelligence reports that Igboho was stockpiling arms to cause chaos within the South-West region.
Also, eariler in the same week, Kanu was arrested by the Nigerian government to continue his trial before the court over his activities in IPOB.
Before Kanu jumped bail in 2019, he had been arraigned on an 11-count charge bordering on ‘terrorism, treasonable felony, managing an unlawful society, publication of defamatory matters, illegal possession of firearms and improper importation of goods, among others.’
However, the Nigerian government has failed to provide a detailed explanation on the arrest and extradition of Kanu.
Nobel Laureate Wole Soyinka said the announced re-arrest of Kanu was as a kidnap, saying that there would be trouble if the truth came out.
“The second issue, however, has to do with Kanu’s conduct outside the nation. There’s been a level of hate rhetoric, which has been unfortunate, from Kanu.
“Hate rhetoric is an issue that can only be judged by the laws of any nation.
“Was it right to have been kidnapped? You can say ‘intercepted’ as much as you want, but I think Kanu was kidnapped. That is wrong internationally and morally,” Soyinka said.
While the Presidency commended the operations, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria Femi Falana described the attack on Igboho’s residence as a ‘nocturnal coup.’
According to Falana, there was no law in Nigeria that allowed someone else’s arrest in the middle of the night.