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Lai Mohammed, Minister of Information, has said that the British government frustrated all efforts of the Nigerian government to shut down Radio Biafra’s broadcast from the UK.
While addressing State House correspondents after Wednesday’s Federal Executive Meeting at the State House, Mohammed, said the financial headquarters of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) is in France.
He singled out France and the United Kingdom for criticism over the IPOB crisis in Nigeria.
“We have the records, we know IPOB collects money from many people from diaspora, they collect money from many people in Nigeria they collect money from some foreign countries, this is clear,” Mohammed said.
“Let me tell you, the financial headquarters is in France, we know, but you see, can you as a government stop sending money to your parents? You have to block the sources of finance that is what I said recently.
“It is incontrovertible that some people in diaspora contribute money to IPOB, where does he (Nnamdi Kanu) get his money from?
“Who does not know that the IPOB internal radio is located in London? We know the diplomatic moves we have been taking and approaching the UK, all the damages it has done but they don’t see it that way; for them (the British government), it is about freedom of expression.”
But the French embassy in Nigeria has countered the claims and expressed surprise at Mohammed’s utterances.
Claude Abily, a political counsellor in the French embassy in Nigeria, issued a press statement on Thursday saying the country had no knowledge of what Mohammed was talking about.
“The embassy of France was surprised by the statement made yesterday by the minister of information and culture indicating that the financial headquarters of IPOB is in France,” the statement read.
“We don’t have any knowledge of a particular presence of IPOB in France and the Nigerian authorities never got in touch with the embassy on this point. We stand ready to examine any information which could support this statement.
“Furthermore, we would like to reiterate that France actively cooperates with Nigeria in the field of security and that we strongly support the unity of the country.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This story has been updated. The italicised and emboldened quote was initially wrongly credited to Claude Abily, but it has been brought to our notice that it was indeed made by Lai Mohammed. The error is regretted and has been corrected.