The French government has dismissed the Federal Government’s claim that France has financial ties to separatist group, the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).
The French embassy in Abuja expressed shock at the recent statement made by Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, where he suggested that France is the “financial headquarters” of the pro-Biafra group.
In a statement signed by the embassy’s First Counsellor on Political Affairs and Communication, Claude Abily, he disclosed that the Federal Government had not reached out to them before the public revelation.
He further challenged that the government should provide conclusive evidence to substantiate its public claims.
He said, “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 was 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.”
On Wednesday, September 20, the Federal High Court in Abuja granted the Federal Government an interim injunction proscribing activities of IPOB.
This came after the separatist group was officially branded a “militant terrorist organisation” in a statement by Director, Defence Information (DDI), Maj.-Gen. John Enenche, on Friday, September 15.
This was followed up by an official proscription of activities of the group by the South East Governors’ Forum later on Friday after an emergency meeting in Enugu.
Chairman of the forum, Governor Dave Umahi of Ebonyi requested the group and other such groups to articulate their grievances and send to the forum.