We’re not in support of Biafra agitation –EU

michel arrion

The agitation for a sovereign state of Biafra suffered a blow yesterday as the European Union (EU), a major power block, said it was not in support of the agitation for the creation of Republic of Biafra from the present day Nigeria.
The Head of Delegation of EU to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Ambassador Michel Arrion, who gave the organisation’s position in Abuja at a press briefing ahead of President Muhammadu Buhari’s visit to Strasbourg, France, next week, said recent publications on the EU’s stand by some media houses were misleading.
Arrion, who acknowledged that the EU has received many letters on the secession demand by some people in the region, stated that he had read some of the reports in the media which did not represent the organisation’s position.
“We have received hundreds of letters of that nature. We do not interfere in the internal matters of a country. We are not going to support any initiative like referendum and it is left for Nigerians to decide because there are rules on those issues. There are rules in self-determination. Those who read the reports thought as if we are supporting the referendum of Biafra. I don’t think it is what they think; that we are supporting the referendum,” he said.
The EU envoy, who lauded the present government’s anti-corruption crusade, said the organisation has supported the fight through a range of programmes aimed at strengthening the anti-corruption agencies, the law enforcement agencies as well as the criminal justice system, not only to prevent the incidence of corruption but also to deal with corruption cases when they occur.
He disclosed that EU has committed about $35 million, through the on-going projects being implemented by the United Nations (UN) office, targeted at various anti-corruption agencies.
On the issue of terrorism, the ambassador said EU is working with the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) towards strengthening the capacity of Nigerian security agencies against those challenges, particularly those posed by terrorism.
“The EU programme with the office of NSA aims to reduce radicalism through community engagement and engagement with prisoners and detainees, as well as respect for human rights in law enforcement operations,” he said.
Describing the situation in the North-East as deplorable, he cautioned that the military must combine their operations with intelligence and humanitarian responses in tackling terrorism.
He attributed the problem partly to poverty, illiteracy and negligence on the part of the central government towards good governance and lack of social justice.
“You will never win a war if you do not behave well. The security forces must comply with the basic rule of human rights. If the security forces do not protect the citizens, they will not trust them and consequently, will not co-operate with them,” he added.
Arrion, who hinted that President Buhari will be addressing members of the European Union on terrorism and anti-graft war in Strasbourg, next week Wednesday, said the global approach to addressing extreme hostility would be the main point at the summit.

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