Says Kanu diverting attention from FBI list as a beneficiary
Some respected Igbo elites, under the aegis of South-East Economic Revival and Development Movement (SERDM), has apologised to Nigerians, especially President Muhammadu Buhari and erstwhile Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu over the recent spiteful antics of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).
The group made this known in a press conference by President, Obumneme Chijioke Udeh, in Enugu on Tuesday to address what it described as “maligning of the Igbo nation by miscreants”.
According to the SERDM, IPOB’s new gimmick may not be unconnected with the recent clampdown on 74 Igbo sons for fraud by the United States’ Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
The fugitive leader of the terrorist group, Nnamdi Kanu, is a well-known beneficiary from sympathisers across the globe, particularly Igbos irrespective of the source of wealth.
For this reason, the South-East movement believes Mr Kanu may be attempting to divert attention from the heinous deeds of his collaborators who have been indicted for various degree of fraud.
On completion of their investigation, instead of jail term, the group, however, appealed to the United States to repatriate these Nigerians, so they can be tried for terrorism financing in line with extant legislation in Nigeria.
Read the full statement below:
This slur on our ethnic identity was committed on two fronts. One front was the despicable assault by members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) on a former Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu; the threat to attack other Igbo leaders whenever they travel abroad; the N1 million bounty promised by IPOB leader – Nnamdi Kanu to anyone that divulges information about the travel plans of Igbo leaders; and the laughable call for the IPOB members to arrest President Buhari in Japan during his ongoing visit to the country.
The second front is the disgraceful indictment of as many as 74 Igbo sons out of the 80 persons fingered for fraud by the United States’ Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). It is humiliating that the dint of hard work that so many Nigerians, particularly Igbo in the Diaspora, have engaged in abroad has been rubbished by the greed and avarice of a few misguided elements who succumbed to the get rich quick syndrome that threw away all forms of ethics in pursuit of instant gratification.
What the public may not know however is that the two events – the growth of IPOB’s belligerence and the fraudulent lives of the 74 indicted persons – are not unconnected. They are different sides of the same coins. We have been able to establish that the proceeds of the fraud committed by these young men are the major source of financing for IPOB’s terrorist activities in Nigeria and, more recently, around the world. The N1 million bounties promised to those that divulge travel details of Igbo politicians was to be sourced from remittances from the 74 indicted persons.
The decision to attack Senator Ekweremadu and the threat to beat up visiting dignitaries from Nigeria and well as the comical directive for President Buhari’s arrest were all attempts to create diversions from the boiling issue of the indictment of fraudsters and scammers that had been the mainstay of IPOB financing. The objective was to ensure that IPOB’s errant behavior dominated the news space such that Nigerians will not notice the indictment of those financing its activities. Thankfully, the plan failed.
We strongly believe that justice will not be served if the United States merely indicts, try and jail the 80 indicted persons, including the 74 Igbo among them. This is because they will merely be jailed for fraud without the aspect about terrorist financing coming up. Yet, financing terrorism is the primary reason they went into the business of depriving other people of their hard-earned cash. Jail terms for fraud in the United States are tantamount to lodging these criminals in five-star hotels. We, therefore, suggest that the government of that country should repatriate these criminals to Nigeria to be tried for terrorism financing in line with extant legislation in Nigeria because the more grievous of their crimes were committed here against Nigeria.
Those that attacked Senator Ekeweremadu in Germany should be expelled from the European Union and sent to Nigeria, not only for engaging in terrorist acts but also for being beneficiaries of fraud and terrorist financing. They should be made to answer for their crimes in Nigeria where the victims of their terrorist activities are resident for their crime is not a victimless one.
We expect that the Federal Government of Nigeria will complement the actions of the United States and countries of the European Union by withdrawing or canceling international passports of both the fraudsters and their terrorist collaborators that attacked and are planning to attack Nigerian officials. The state must adopt a tough stance against terrorism driven international fraud so that it can safeguard the nation’s image and safety of citizens at the same time.