The European Union (EU) yesterday, condemned and rejected the unilateral classification of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) as a terrorist organisation by the Nigerian Armed Forces. The Defence Headquarters of the Nigeria Army on Friday declared IPOB a terrorist organisation, claiming that its members had become violent and a security threat in the country.
But the EU’s condemnation followed reported video footages of the brutal and inhuman activities of the Nigerian Army in the South-East region of Nigeria.
The videos showed various scenes of the invasion of communities, torture and killings of IPOB members, which have gone viral since the Nigeria Army launched its Operation Python Dance II to clamp down on the group agitating for selfdetermination.
President of the EU Commission, Mr. Jean-Claude Junker, who made the view of the Commission known, openly warned the Nigerian security personnel against what he described as their ill hearted and unprofessional handling of democratic issues and the rights of the people. Junker cautioned the Nigerian military chiefs that they must employ every democratic tenet to handle issues that concern the agitations of the citizens in Nigeria.
“It is the people’s right to agitate and make a request from their government; self-determination is a right enshrined in the United Nation Charter. The people of Biafra have every right to request for a referendum, they have been in this struggle for a while now they have never killed or shot a bullet instead they are the victims of attacks and murder.
“The entire EU hereby condemns the brutal attack on IPOB members and leadership under the pretentious disguise of a military exercise (Operation Python Dance). The Nigerian military is warned to adopt democratic tenets in handling citizens.
The EU will not sit and watch things go undemocratic in the largest economy of the West African region,” he warned.
Junker promised to raise the issues concerning the peoples’ request for a referendum among the caucus of the EU, stating that the Biafra request for a referendum was not different from that of the Catalonians in Spain and the Scots in Britain.
He said the Nigeria government must rise above the suppression of voices of dissent and handle issues with every tenet of maturity and democracy.
Earlier, the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) Nnamdi Kanu had petitioned the European Union on the on-going military operation in southeast region of Nigeria.
In the petition, Kanu accused the army of intimidation, torture, arrest, abduction and killing of the civilian populace in the southeast He also petitioned the European Union High Commission, the Presidents of United States of America, Russia, Israel, United Kingdom and France.
In the petitioned dated September 14, the leader of the separatist group accused the Nigerian military of intimidation, torture, arrest, abduction and killing of civilian populace in the southeast.
The letter written by the counsel to the IPOB leader, Ifeanyi Ejiofor, was addressed to the Secretary General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres, the European Union High Commission, the presidents of United States of America, Russia and Israel.
Kanu in his letter called for the immediate intervention of the UN, the EU, the US and these other countries on the invasion of the military in the region.
He urged the comity of nations to prevail on the Nigerian government to suspend further military action in the South-East states of the country and withdraw ‘the rampaging troops’ from the region.
The letter, which had attachment to it of videos and photographs of victims of the alleged army attack, stated that the hostility against the IPOB members has escalated to other neighbouring states resulting in bloody casualties. “Unarmed civilians largely made up members of the Indigenous People of Biafra are now being tortured and murdered in cold blood on a daily basis.
We have no doubt that the undisclosed reason for deploying troops to south eastern states by the President Buhari-led administration is to attack unarmed and defenceless members of the Indigenous People of Biafra who are merely exercising their constitutional guaranteed rights to self-determination,” the letter said.