The Presidency has said the trial of Nnamdi Kanu, leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), will lead to the end of the proscribed group.
Garba Shehu, presidential spokesperson, said this while responding to the criticism of President Muhammadu Buhari by a London-based news magazine, The Economist.
The Economist had scored the Buhari-administration government low, saying his “inept and heavy handed” administration has failed to tackle corruption.
In an editorial titled, ‘The Crime Scene at the Heart of Africa,’ which was published in its October 23, 2021, edition, the news magazine said that the Nigerian Army is only as strong on paper.
The Economist alleged that the army has ghost workers on its payroll, and often sell equipment to insurgents who destabilise the nation.
It noted that economic hardship in Nigeria is fueling the current insecurity, adding that life has become more difficult for Nigerians as food prices have continued to skyrocketed because of the administration’s mismanagement of the economy.
However, in a statement titled “Economist’s Flawed, Anti-Nigeria Cover: President Buhari is Strengthening Africa’s Democracy”, Shehu said resilience and fortitude of patriotic Nigerians will see the nation through the difficult times.
He said the new magazine was correct that Nigeria faces multiple threats, but that “they confluence now not because of this government; but on the contrary, it is this government which is addressing them concurrently, and simultaneously – when no other prior administration sought to adequately address even a single one”.
The president’s spokesman said the Economist opinionated on banditry and kidnapping in the North-west, explaining that, “While this has been simmering for generations, it is the newest of the organized threats Nigeria faces to her stability. But this too the Economist inaccurately described: ‘bandits’ who have the resources and technology to shoot down a military fighter jet are not bandits at all – but rather highly organised crime syndicates with huge resources and weaponry”.
“Yet they are essentially no different to Boko Haram in this regard who are now cornered. It will take time, but the President is unwavering in his determination to collapse this challenge to public order”.
The presidential aide said the arrest and ongoing trial of Kanu, which he stressed the Economist rightly describes as “delusional”, is the beginning of its demise.
He said the current administration is working hard to have IPOB rightfully designated as a terrorist group by its allies outside of Nigeria.
Shehu said it is an act which will collapse their ability to transact gains from crime and extortion in foreign currencies.
“It is important to remind the Economist and the global media that this group’s aggression and widespread presence on social media does not reflect their public support, for which they have none: all elected governors, all elected politicians and all elected state assemblies in the South-East – which IPOB claim to be part of their fantasy kingdom – reject them completely,” he added.