The Nigerian army has just declared the Indigenous People Of Biafra (IPOB) a terrorist organisation for these reasons.
This declaration follows renewed agitations for an independent Biafra State in the Southeast of Nigeria where IPOB is headquartered.
IPOB is led by Nnamdi Kanu; an eccentric character who is facing charges of treasonable felony and illegal possession of firearms in court.
Kanu is currently on bail, pending the resumption of his trial in Abuja next month.
In the last couple of days, IPOB has clashed with the Nigerian army after the latter rolled in the tanks into the Southeast ahead of its ‘Python Dance’ operation which has since kicked off with plenty of boots on the ground.
The skirmishes have left several injured and traumatised in the Southeast; with the tension in that part of Nigeria stoking ethnic flare-ups across the country, all week long.
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A three-day dusk-to-dawn curfew was imposed in Abia on Tuesday by State Governor Okezie Ikpeazu. That curfew has since been extended.
IPOB leaders say Nigerian troops have killed five of its members in recent clashes. The army has denied those claims.
A terrorist organisation is loosely defined as one which uses calculated violence against civilians to meet goals that are political, ideological or religious in nature, through intimidation, coercion or by instilling fear.
In a statement sent to Pulse and signed by the Director of Defence Information, Maj Gen John Enenche, these are the reasons why IPOB has just been slapped with the tag “terrorist organisation” by the military.
1. Army says IPOB is violent and metamorphosing into something more sinister.
According to the statement: “The Independent People of Biafra (IPOB) group which has posed to be a security challenge in the country, has been metamorphosing from one stage to the other. After due professional analysis and recent developments, it has become expedient, to notify the general public that; the claim by IPOB actors that the organisation is non-violent is not true. Hence, the need to bring to public awareness the true and current state of IPOB”.
2. Formation of a Biafra Secret Service also counts as one of IPOB's 'many sins' and another reason for the terrorist designation, the army says.
3. The army says IPOB has formed an armed Biafra national guard.
4. The army accuses IPOB of "unauthorised blocking of public access roads and extortion of money from innocent civilians at illegal road blocks".
5. "Militant possession and use of weapons (stones, molotov cocktails, machetes and broken bottles, among others) on a military patrol on Sept. 10, 2017", is yet another reason for the proscription, says the army.
6. "Physical confrontation of troops by Nnamdi Kanu and other IPOB actors at a check point on Sept. 11, 2017 and also attempt to snatch their rifles", the statement from the army also reads.
7. The army also lists the "attack by IPOB members on a military check point on Sept. 12, 2017, at Isialangwa, where one IPOB actor attempted to snatch a female soldier's rifle".