IPOB challenges proscription,sues government


Outlawed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) has filed a lawsuit at a Federal High court in Abuja seeking to upturn the order of a federal high court proscribing the activities of the group.

The Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice Abdul Kafarati had on Wednesday granted the Government an interim injunction proscribing activities of the group.

Justice Kafarati granted the injunction in chambers after the Minister of Justice, Mr Abubakar Malami, had filed an exparte motion urging the court to proscribe the activities of the group.

President Muhammadu Buhari had earlier given  approval for the proscription of the group, pending legal process.

Governors of the Southeast states took the first step to ban the activities of the group after the military had declared it a militant terrorist group.

The motion, with suit number FHC/ABJ/CS/871/17 was filed pursuant to Section 6(6) (1) (4) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended in 2011.

It was also brought under the inherent jurisdiction of the court.

The office of the Attorney-General of the Federation was named as respondent.

The applicant contends that the grounds upon which the application was brought hinged on the fact that the Sept.20 exparte order made against it by the court was without jurisdiction.

According to the court document, there was clear suppression and misrepresentation of facts in the Attorney General’s affidavit evidence, pursuance to which the order was granted.

“The order is unconstitutional, as it was made in clear violation of constitutionally guaranteed right of the Indigenous People of Biafra to self-determination, the group’s lawyer,  Ifeanyi Ejiofor said in the court process.

“It also violated Article 20(1) of the Africa Charter on Human & Peoples Rights, now domesticated into our law under (Ratification and Enforcement Act) (Cap 10) Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 1990.

“It ran against the right to fair hearing, right to freedom of expression and the press.

“It further violated the right to peaceful assembly and association clearly provided for under sections 36, 39 and 40 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as (Amended) 2011,’’

According to the group’s lawyer, a declaratory order cannot be made pursuant to an exparte application without hearing from the party against whom the order is made.

He submitted that the Indigenous People of Biafra who were majorly of Igbo extraction had no history of violence in exercising their right to self-determination.

“The Indigenous People of Biafra does not carry arms and has no history of arm struggle in the exercise of its constitutionally guaranteed right to self-determination.

“Prior and during the military invasion of the South Eastern states, IPOB members had never at any time resorted to arm struggle or engage in acts of violence capable of threatening national security.

No date was fixed for hearing of the suit

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