The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, has differentiated bandits from Indigenous People of Biafra, adding that the Federal Government cannot proscribe bandits.
According to him, IPOB is a registered organisation but bandits are not, hence cannot be proscribed.
Lai Mohammed explained this on Wednesday during his interview on Africa Independent Television, AIT’s Kaakaki programme.
His words: “You proscribe known groups with names. You can’t just proscribe an unknown group legally,” he said.
“Secondly, it’s not whether they are proscribed or not, it is the way they are treated. Does the government actually treat them with kid gloves? The answer is no.”
”There is a difference between the bandits and the Indigenous People of Biafra, a group that has been proscribed by the Federal Government.
“When a group is championing a course for the disintegration of Nigeria… A group like IPOB (that) does not even recognise Nigeria as a state, sets up its own army and think it is a sovereign state is different from bandits and criminals. Please, don’t compare apples and oranges.”
When asked if the bandits aren’t also threatening the sovereignty of Nigeria by taking up arms against the citizens, the Minister said the cases are completely different.
He said, “Security challenges are one thing. Challenging the sovereignty of Nigeria is a completely different thing. Don’t let us dwell on semantics.”
Speaking further, he said, “Don’t armed robbers threaten the security of lives and property? They do. Is there anywhere in the world that armed robbers have been proscribed?”