By Chukwudi Nweje
Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership (CACOL) has said it is only security agencies that can determine if a group is a terrorist organisation or not.
Executive CACOL chairman, Mr. Debo Adeniran, who reacted to an order of a Federal High Court in Abuja, which proscribed activities of the Nnamdi Kanu-led Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), said security agencies have certain parameters upon which they decide whether activities of any group constituted acts of terrorism or not.
He called on the Federal Government to allow the Department of State Services (DSS) and the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) tell Nigerians the parameters upon which IPOB was classified a terrorist organisation and its activities proscribed.
“First and foremost, it is only security agencies that can determine the veracity of that claim, whether the IPOB are a terrorist organisation or not. This is because there are conditions to be fulfilled by any organisation to be tagged a terror group.
“However, what we could see was that the organisation, especially the leader, made a number of statements that pointed towards insurgency, not terror.
“When someone is seen on social media (whether in a fake or an authentic video) openly soliciting arms and ammunition to fight the battle for self-determination in the country, that is a step beyond the red line.
“Yes, people have a right to associate, to hold an opinion and propagate that opinion within the ambits of existing laws.
“The United Nations also said people have a right to self-determination, but a situation where you want to wage war against your own country has a different connotation. That is the area we are looking at. IPOB has set up some outfits which are confrontational to the existing government. It is like belittling the capacity of the existing government and no government will accept that.”
He urged the federal government “to dialogue with IPOB so that the group would state their grievances for a workable solution to be agreed upon.”