The Oasis Reporters
September 21, 2017
The Nigerian government received a few lessons on tolerance and the need to protect free speech no matter how hurtful from it’s former colonial masters recently, Alhaji Lai Mohammed has revealed.
The Nigerian government approached Her Majesty’s Government in the United Kingdom asking it to quietly shut down Radio Biafra because Nnamdi Kanu was transmitting “hate speeches” from there.
The UK Government rejected the request flatly, based on the need to “protect freedom of speech”, according to Lai Mohammed, Nigeria’s Information minister.
The minister added, “In tackling IPOB again, there are a few very naughty diplomatic issues which you need to skip. For instance, who does not know that the IPOB international radio is located in London? We know the diplomatic moves we have been taking and approaching the UK and all the damage it (Radio Biafra) has done but they don’t see it that way; for them, it is about freedom of expression.”
Indeed the Nigerian government under former President Goodluck Jonathan signed a Freedom of Information Bill into law, which is the standard practice world wide amongst civilized Nations.
A public affairs analyst based in Washington also spoke to our correspondent that the US government would as tow that line should any such request be made.
” The US government can only advice you to set up a counter radio station and broadcast to the same audience with your different messages”, they won’t rush to abridge freedom of speech, no, the US believes in freedom and liberty”, he further explained.
IPOB’s funding is from France, says FG
The Federal Government equally pointed accusing fingers at France as the foreign source of funding for the Indigenous People Of Biafra, IPOB, on Wednesday, alleging that apart from receiving money from looters in Nigeria, secessionist group, the Indigenous People of Biafra, was receiving a large chunk of its financing from France.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said this during an interview with State House correspondents after the Federal Executive Council Meeting at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Mohammed said it would, however, be difficult to block the funding because some innocent Nigerians were receiving money from France for legitimate reasons.
He said, “We have the records, we know IPOB collects money from many people in diaspora. They collect money from many people in Nigeria, they collect money from some foreign countries, this is clear.
“Let me tell you, the financial headquarters is in France, we know. But you see, can you, as a government, stop people sending money to their parents? You have to block the sources of finance; that is what I said recently.
“It is incontrovertible that some people in diaspora contribute money to IPOB. Where does he get his money from? We know this as a fact.”
The minister said one of the measures the government employed in tackling IPOB before the deployment of soldiers in the South-East, was to reach out to foreign governments for collaboration.
He, however, said the process was long and not always successful.
Mohammed rejected the argument that IPOB was not a terrorist group.
He argued that Kanu was caught on video in London in 2015 soliciting money for weapons.
He added, “I think anybody, who has watched Nnamdi Kanu’s videos, knows that anywhere he goes, he openly solicits arms and funds. I have a lot of quotations from him as to the violent nature of IPOB.
“In one of his videos, he said if he was arrested, his boys should burn down the country.
He said but for the timely intervention of government at the federal and state levels, especially in the South-East, the activities of IPOB would have thrown the country into chaos.
Analysts found fault in the Federal government approaching foreign governments over Nnamdi Kanu’s activities. “Why not approach him and listen to his grievances then find an amicable solution? ” they ask.