UK Asylum, IPOB, banditry killings, Pantami: How FG, Garba Shehu goofed —Tolu Babaleye


I have followed the discussions and the conundrum surrounding the above topic and as a Nigerian with interest in International Law, Politics and Diplomacy, I am of the opinion that the United kingdom is not stupid to have considered IPOB for Asylum Visa if any of its members can meet the other conditions.

As soon as this gesture becomes public knowledge, the Nigerian Information Minister Alh. Lai Muhammed on behalf of Nigerian Government released a very powerful statement which includes all manners of threat to United Kingdom to protest the announcement. The reason being that Nigerian Government has proscribed IPOB and named it a terrorist organisation despite the fact that there are criteria to be met in designating a group as terrorist group under the peremptory norms of International Law and Diplomacy which Nigeria did not meet.

In my opinion, the UK Government is right to have done what she did and the threat of Nigerian Government does not hold water as the UK is not stupid and has always been fair in their approach to World politics and diplomacy based on their antecedents. My reasons for the above opinion are as follows:

Can it be said that Nigerian Government was fair in designating IPOB as a terrorist organisation based on the background information and circumstances of that Executive Order? To my mind, the answer is a capital NO.

This is because the whole World is watching events in Nigeria. The Nigerian Government has refused to declare killer Fulani Herdsmen as a terrorist organisation despite the fact that the World Terrorist Index had labelled the killer Fulani Herdsmen as the 4th most dangerous terrorist group in the World.

This same Nigerian government had refused to arrest the Leadership of Miyetti Allah despite owning up to many killings and genocides in Benue and Plateau States. Up till date, Miyetti Allah is still operating as if nothing will happen as our President is one of their own.

Nigerian Government had always set free Boko Haram captives and at times grant them amnesty and send them abroad, this is a BH that is a World renowned terrorist organisation which Nigeria has been battling for over 10 years and in which over 15,000 lives have been lost with more than 20 Million people displaced from their homes.

Also, in recent times, Nigeria Government and its components in Katsina, Zamfara and Niger States have negotiated with bandits and paid them heavily in hard currencies and grant them Amnesty and yet the same government had labelled IPOB that did not carry gun; that did not kill anyone but were merely asking for self determination which in my opinion is a legitimate demand by virtue of Universal Declaration of Human Rights by United Nations and African Charter of Human and Peoples Rights to which Nigeria is a signatory.

In all these, the United Kingdom is watching Nigeria as the authority of the county is using deodorant to fight the real terrorists while using insecticides to fight genuine and peaceful agitators.

About 3 or 4 days ago, Nigerians woke up to the story of Isah Pantami and his undeniable link with terrorism and his inciting statements to urge on terrorism in the past. Despite the hue and cry and the open confession of Pantami in form of saying he is now older as he did those terrorism activities when he was still young at 30s, the President or is it the Presidency had kept mute as if they heard nothing.

This is a man who is occupying a very vital Ministry that is housing Nigerian data Bank for that matter. How therefore can a country like United Kingdom take Nigeria serious and why won’t they grant an association like IPOB recognition and legitimacy as it is obvious that the organisation and its members are being persecuted for holding a political thought different from the Nigerian Authority?

The UK had its intelligence and must have looked at all things critically before arriving at this decision to grant Asylum to any member of IPOB that may be interested. This grant by the UK authority to my mind is a great Justice served on IPOB as they are being persecuted. With the grant of Asylum, the UK had recognized the agitations of IPOB as legitimate and genuine and and Biafra as a “State in transtitute” (a State looking for sovereignty) just like Western Sahara in Morocco.

This is a strong signal to Nigerian Government to put its house in order to prevent the looming disintegration that is now louder than before but instead of doing that, it is either Garba Shehu or Femi Adesina is issuing one inflammatory statements or the other and saying nobody can bully the Presidency.

Meanwhile, Nigerians only vote for President Buhari to do what is required of his office so as to better the lot of Nigerians who voted for change and not Presidency where Garba Shehu and his cohorts are sitting down comfortably to insult Nigerians on whose goodwill Garba Shehu and his ilks are drawing their daily bread.

I have also noted the vituperation and threat of Alh. Lai Muhammed to the UK and laughed it off as nothing but a mere ranting. I asked myself, can Lai Muhammed or any Nigerian Government official threatened United Kingdom? I doubt it. This is because UK needs nothing from Nigeria but conversely it is Nigeria that has everything to lose if diplomatic cord is severed with UK.

Let Nigerians remember that its number one citizen had just returned from UK last week from Medical tourism. Nearly all the Children of our Government officials in Nigeria are schooling in UK and so many other benefits derivable from their association with UK. Let nobody deceive Nigerians as if we are stark illiterates. I believed that Lai Muhammed is just talking for the sake of talking, he could not have meant what he said about United Kingdom.

Let me conclude this post by advising the Government of Nigeria to be up and doing in the fight against terrorism by fighting it headlong without fear or favour and without any nepotic colouration as we have it now otherwise no International Community will take Nigeria Government serious on issue of terrorism with the way we are going about it.

May God visit Nigeria.

I am TOLU BABALEYE ESQ speaking from the Office of the Citizens.

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