An American academic, Ivan Sheehan, has called on the United States to declare the Nnamdi Kanu-led Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) a global terrorists group.
Sheehan, who is the executive director of the school of public and international affairs at the University of Baltimore, gave his reasons in a piece published in The Washington Times.
According to the academic don, the creation of the Eastern Security Network (ESN) by the outlawed group in Nigeria rubbishes the groups claim to be a peaceful movement.
He also accused the embattled Nnamdi Kanu of using Radio Biafra to issue threats and back terrorism.
Sheehan stated that the IPOB leader openly declares his support for terrorism, which he describes as worrisome.
He noted that though IPOB’s principal aim is to restore a breakaway state of Biafra in the southeastern parts of Nigeria, Kanu’s rhetoric has become increasingly strident.
The American said: “Mr. Kanu has said through his Radio Biafra channel, used to project threats, instructions, and propaganda into Nigeria from the safety of London, “If they don’t (give us Biafra), they will die.
“Neither does Mr. Kanu make idle threats. The December revelation of IPOB’s 50,000 strong-armed paramilitary wing, the Eastern Security Network (ESN), complete with a Swastika-style flag, marked the end to all pretenses of being a peaceful movement.
“What had been largely unspoken was publicly declared. Since then, violent IPOB attacks on both security personnel and civilians have surged by a terrifying 59%; deaths by 344%.”
While urging the US to tag IPOB a terror group, Sheehan stated that this will help cut the groups financial flow.
He stated that this will stop organisation using the US dollars from conducting transactions with the pro-Biafra group.
“As soon as the designation is applied, no organization that utilizes U.S. currency would be able to legally conduct transactions with the organization. By cutting off IPOB’s funding, the U.S. would weaken the 50,000 strong paramilitary outfit, and provide Nigeria’s security forces room to train their sights squarely on ISIS-affiliated Boko Haram in the Northeast of the country.
“Counterterrorism operations against Boko Haram have long been assisted by U.S. agencies working in close coordination with the West African government,” he added