Following intelligence reports, the federal government has located a slush account in Paris to which some Nigerians have made huge deposits in support of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).
It has also uncovered how some IPOB members have invaded Nigerian embassies in Hong Kong and Spain and created some scenes in the last 72 hours.
The development, security sources said, was an indication of the desperation of IPOB and the justification for the proscription of the organisation.
But the French Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Denys Gauer on Friday met with the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed.
Although the outcome of the meeting between the two leaders was kept under wraps, Gauer was said to have reassured the federal government that France would not support any terrorist group.
It was learnt that the French government promised to take action as soon as the IPOB’s slush account was known to it.
A top security source, who spoke in confidence, said: “Intelligence gathering has led to the discovery of an account in Paris into which some Nigerians in the Diaspora remit funds to support IPOB.”
“From the said account, funds were being drawn for the activities of IPOB at home and abroad. The relevant security agencies did a thorough job and provided incontrovertible evidence on the basis of which the government proscribed the terrorist organisation.”
“These Nigerians in the Diaspora are using France as a clearing house.”
“Investigations also confirmed inflows into the account from Holland, Hungary, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Turkey, Singapore and other parts of Europe.”
“In fact, a football tournament was recently organised in Senegal to raise funds for IPOB.”
“As a matter of fact, the account is being used to get money from a lot of people in the Diaspora.”
“What many Nigerians did not know is that the Minister of Information and Culture was talking on the basis of a credible intelligence report.”
Responding to a question, the source added: “With cooperation by the international community, especially relevant countries, we will soon get the list of all the people remitting funds into the account in Paris.”
But the government was also concerned that IPOB members were becoming desperate after the clampdown on the terrorist group.
The source said: “IPOB members are becoming desperate in the last 72 hours. About two days ago, some members of the terrorist group breezed into our Embassy in Hong Kong under the pretence of renewing their passports but ended up staging a protest.”
“The IPOB members also demonstrated at our embassy in Spain a few days ago.”
At press time, the details of the session between the French Ambassador and the Minister of Information and Culture were yet to be formally released.
But a source said: “The Ambassador actually told the minister that France would never condone the activities of any terrorist group, including IPOB.
“He recalled that France has always been at the receiving end of terrorists and so cannot under any circumstances back IPOB.”
“He restated the determination of the French government to support any policy or initiative which will strengthen Nigeria’s unity.”
“He actually made it known that his government will not back secessionist agitation in this country.”
On the account in Paris, the Ambassador was said to have told the minister that France was “not aware of the account, but Nigeria should make a formal report.”
The source said the minister also reiterated that he “never said that France was supporting IPOB because there is a robust relationship between France and Nigeria.
“We can never accuse France of collaborating with terrorists because it has been assisting us in tackling Boko Haram insurgency.”
“France played a major role in setting up and managing the operation of the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF).”