BIAFRA: France, UK opens up in Nigeria and IPOB issue

France and the United Kingdom yesterday, separately denied any complicity on the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) crisis, saying they were never contacted by Nigeria on the issue.

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed had on Wednesday referred to France as the financial headquarters of IPOB and complained that the British government allowed the group’s Radio Biafra to operate on its soil despite all the damages it is doing to Nigeria.
The French embassy in Abuja, in a statement yesterday by its Political Counsellor, Claude Abily, dismissed the minister’s remarks.
“The Embassy of France was surprised by the statement made yesterday by the Minister of Information and Culture indicating that the “financial headquarters” of IPOB were in France.
“We don’t have any knowledge of a particular presence of IPOB in France and the Nigerian authorities never got in touch with the Embassy on this point.
“We stand ready to examine any information which could support this statement. Furthermore, we would like to reiterate that France actively cooperates with Nigeria in the field of security and that we strongly support the unity of the country,” it said.
Similarly, the United Kingdom said yesterday that it did not receive any request from the Nigerian government to shut Radio Biafra.
Lai Mohammed had said that “Who does not know that the IPOB internal radio is located in London? We know the diplomatic moves we have been taking and approaching the UK, all the damages it (Radio Biafra)  has done, but they don’t see it that way, for them (the British government), it is about freedom of expression.”
The British High Commission, in a statement by its Press & Public Affairs Officer, Joe Abuku, said “The UK is not aware of any representation from the Nigerian government about Radio Biafra.

“Were we to receive any such request, we would of course consider it carefully on the basis of the available evidence, recognising that freedom of speech and expression carries responsibilities.”