The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has faulted the military for calling the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) a terrorist organisation, saying it lacks the constitutional authority to do so.
The party noted that the military overreached itself by that pronouncement, stressing that such declaration could only be made by the National Assembly and the Federal Government as stipulated by the constitution.
Spokesman of the PDP, Dayo Adeyeye, stated this after a closed door meeting between his party and a delegation of China’s leading party, Communist Party of China (CPC) which held at the PDP secretariat in Abuja.
Adeyeye, who urged the leaders of South-East region to step up to their responsibility, also cautioned IPOB to be clear on their tactics and strategies, adding that if they claim to be non-violent, they should not be provoked into acts of violence.
He further took a swipe at the All Progressives Congress (APC) for sabotaging the clamour for restructuring the country, adding that their call for a public hearing is a delay tactic.
Speaking on the military pronouncement on IPOB, he said: “I believe that the power to proscribe an organisation lies essentially with the National Assembly and the Federal Government of Nigeria. It does not lie with the governors nor the military.
“However the governors are the chief security officers of the various states and the primary responsibility of government is to secure lives and property of its citizens. That is the first and most important responsibility of government. Therefore as chief security officers of their states, they are allowed to take every measure that will ensure that peace reigns supreme in their
“Therefore I will not condemn what the governors have done. They have been on the receiving end of the activities of IPOB. But the for the military, I think they overreached themselves by declaring IPOB a terrorist organisation. It is not in their powers to do so but that of the National Assembly and the relevant federal agencies after careful evaluation to say whether an organisation can be classified as a terrorist organisation or not. I believe there are processes and procedures to be followed before such can be done. It is not in the powers of any organisation, especially the military to unilaterally declare any organisation a terrorist organisation.
“But I want to enjoin our leaders in the South-East to take responsibility. I believe that IPOB may have been allowed to be an organisation of mainly young elements who are out to fill a vacuum that they see as created by their leaders not taking appropriate action to address their grievances. It is now time for the leaders to act and fill those gaps and allay the fears of the people that they will not be persecuted or marginalised. I believe that the governors have acted in the best interest of the country.”
On his advise to the IPOB leaders he said they should be really clear on what they really want.
“They should be clear on their tactics and strategies. If you say you are non-violent, you should not be provoked into acts of violence. They should be able to study the tactics employed be the civil right groups in the United States. If you say you believe in non-violence, you should study the tactics employed by the civil rights group in US led by the great Martin Luther King jnr so that they will not be provoked under any circumstances.
“There was an instance when Martin Lither was beaten up and slapped during his struggle but he refused to react that is the tactics of non-violence. It has been employed in many parts of the world with great success.”
Reacting to the proposed public hearing of the APC on restructuring he said “It is a delayed tactics meant to kill the demand for restructuring and we are not interested and we will not participate in such hearing because the APC has no genuine interest with restructuring the country. They betrayed their real intentions when the issue of restructuring came on the front burner and APC and its members were campaigning against it.
“They said it was never in their manifesto. The APC national chairman and one of their governors came on nations television to say that restructuring is not in their manifesto. So when did they now change their mind? People are agitating for restructuring and you say you are holding public hearing.
“It is the responsibility of National Assembly to hold public hearing and not the APC. The APC is employing delay tactics to kill the issue of restructuring and it is a shame on them and it is a sabotage of the whole process.”
The PDP spokesman said the APC administration should revert to the 2014 national confab report as a template for restructuring of the country.
OWEDE AGBAJILEKE, Abuja