The government of France has denied anything to do with the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), the group seeking a referendum to carve out a separate country in the South East region of Nigeria.
The federal government of Nigeria which launched a military clampdown on the separatist group last week subsequently proscribed it a terrorist organisation.
The government also alleged that the group was being funded from France and that it would take urgent measures to block it.
But in a reaction, the Embassy of France in Nigeria has expressed surprise at the statement made yesterday (Wednesday) by the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed indicating that the “financial headquarters” of IPOB was in France.
The statement signed by the Political Counselor, Embassy of France in Nigeria, Claude Abily, challenged the Federal Government of Nigeria to provide documentary evidence to substantiate its claims that France was the financial headquarters of the separatist group.
“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,” the Embassy said.