Villascope with Lawrence Olaoye
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The conduct of the members of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) is progressively becoming worrisome. Their resolve to internationalize the struggle for the dismemberment of Nigeria by exporting their unruliness has robbed the group of whatever remains of the global sympathies it may have attracted.
The group, which seemed to have made up its mind to organise attacks against Nigerian officials, including the President, anywhere abroad, requires more than mere winking. Apart from planning to physically attack government officials through phoney ‘peaceful protests’, this group has become an albatross around the nation’s neck in the international community.
Only recently, a former Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, who by all means should be counted as one of them owing to his tribal root, was disgraced in Germany by the IPOBians. Ekweremadu, by blood and tribe-Igbo, represents Enugu West Senatorial district in the Senate
Ekweremadu had gone to Numberg, Germany on the invitation of Ndi-Igbo based in that country to deliver a keynote address at the Second Annual Cultural Festival and Convention. In a video that went viral, aggrieved IPOBians were seen hurling raw eggs and spewing insults at the lawmaker.
His sins? “They are killing your people, raping your women back home and you are here celebrating New Yam Festival. God will punish all of you.” But for the immediate intervention of German security men who immediately ferried him away from the venue, Ekweremadu may have sustained serious injuries.
Following the treatment dealt Ekweremadu who was at the forefront of the legal battle to secure the IPOB leader, Nnamdi Kanu’s release from detention when he was incarcerated by the Nigerian government in the recent past, a former Abia state governor and current Senate Chief Whip, Orji Uzor Kalu, billed to travel for medical treatment to Germany, beat a tactical maneuver.
The Senator also had to cancel his trip to Spain on invitation of an Igbo group to its function. Though Kalu claimed he couldn’t honour the Spain invitation because of his engagements with his constituents, many know better than he was willing to admit.
Basking in the ‘success’ of the organised attack against Ekweremadu, the leadership of the proscribed group resolved to deal similar treatment to all government officials anywhere in the world. So when news broke that President Muhammadu Buhari will be attending Seventh Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD7) last week, the exiled leader of the group, Nnamdi Kanu, threatened to organise his men in protest to embarrass him.
First, he wrote a letter to the Japanese Emperor Naruhito describing the Nigerian leader an impostor. According to him, Buhari should not be welcome at the Chrysanthemum Throne because he is not the ‘real Buhari’ but a certain look alike, Jibril, from Sudan. The letter was however ignored and the Nigerian leader got presidential reception.
The group progressed in its propaganda aimed at discrediting the President when it told the world the Buhari was never in Japan but went to Oman. The IPOBIans took it to a ridiculous height when they protested at the Nigerian Embassy in Tokyo seeking to arrest the President and hand him over to the Japanese police for them to conduct a DNA on him so as to ascertain whether he was actually not the fabled Jibril from Sudan.
The whole nation watched helplessly as the Japanese policemen were disdainfully supervising their unruliness. The protesters claimed that there was nobody in the embassy. Buhari never came to Japan, they concluded. These men brought shame to the nation in the name of protests. The protests staged in Tokyo only betrayed the ignorance of the IPOBians who probably did not know that the TICAD7 was billed to hold in Yokohama.
For their temerity to coordinate offensive against notable Nigerians, not a few government officials, particularly of Igbo stock are viewing the IPOBians threats as very potent. Many have since cancelled official engagements especially in Europe and America where they could organise themselves within a blink of an eye.
With the IPOBians not relenting on their activities but rather becoming emboldened, there is a need for the global community to get interested before they begin to bear arms and blow into full grown terrorism. Nigeria can ill afford another terrorists group as she has yet to subdue the Boko Haramists making life uncomfortable for people in the Notth-east.
Meanwhile, the group’s propaganda dubbing Buhari’s Japan trip as a mere waste of scarce resources have been debunked by landmark successes being daily recorded during his brief stay in that technologically advanced country.
As elsewhere, the President used the opportunity of the TICAD7 engagement to woo Japanese investors to invest in Nigeria promising them robust returns on their investments. No doubt, Nigeria requires the whole lot of foreign direct investments especially in science and technology, a rare preserve of the Japanese.
It is expected that Japanese investors are likely to develop interests in investing into the nation’s power and renewable energy, petrochemical and gas, maritime (shipping and ports), automobiles, mining, agribusiness, healthcare and pharmaceuticals, ICT and railway sectors. These are sectors yawning for investments in the nation’s bid to diversify her economy.
To ensure that the negotiation gets beyond mere talks, it was agreed that a Japan-Nigeria Business Facilitation Council be established. This initiatives, when launched, will definitely increase trade and investments between the two countries and the economic advantage to Nigeria can only be imagined. With the anticipated Japanese investments in the country, most of the national woes, especially unemployment, could be addressed.
While there, the President sought Japanese authorities support in combating piracy in the Gulf of Guinea as well as illegal fishing in that region. Collaboration with Japan, which could help by deploying technology to address insecurity in the tumultuous Gulf of Guinea, will restore peace and economic prosperity to Nigeria.
Even before the end of the TICAD7, Buhari has been able to secure financial pledges from the Japanese Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe. Abe pledge to support the National Defence College with the sum of $300,000 while also promising to make available 12 million Japanese Yen for the nation’s public health sector. These funds and many others obviously would not have been made available to the country if the President had sat idly at Aso Villa wishing to receive from foreign donors.
Also in Yokohama, a cooperation agreement which was signed by Nigeria’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Geoffrey Onyeama and EU Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, Mr Neven Mimica, would bring the total EU support to the country to €562million for 2014-2020.
There the President urged the EU member states to assist his efforts in addressing the pathetic the situation of internally displaced persons camps in Nigeria while calling for further assistance to improve youth education in the North-east region in order to take them out of poverty. Buhari got assurance from the EU official that his requests would be given priority consideration since it had come at the time that the EU was in the process of preparing its seven-year budget. These are no mean achievements within few days of Buhari’s official sojourn in Japan.