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Court Refuses to Reverse IPOB’s Proscription

A Federal High Court in Abuja has rejected an application by Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) challenging its proscription.

Justice Adamu Kafarati held that the proscription order made ex-parte on September 20, 2017, was validly made.

He held that IPOB’s application, seeking the vacation of the proscription order, was unmeritorious and deserved to be dismissed.

The judge resolved the three issues identified for the resolution against the applicant (IPOB).

The first issue was whether IPOB, haven not been registered in Nigeria, could be sued at a Nigerian court. The second was whether the order made ex-parte, without hearing the group, was not a violation of its right to fair hearing.

The issue related to whether the order banning IPOB was not a violation of its members’ right to freely associate.

On the first issue, Justice Kafarati opined that since the applicant agreed that it was registered outside Nigeria, it means it was a foreign artificial person.

He said as a foreign entity, IPOB was subject to Nigerian laws and could sue and be sued in Nigeria.

On the second issue, the judge held that the order ex-parte banning IPOB was validly made, the necessary conditions under Section 21 of the Terrorism Prevention Act (TPA) haven been met.

He said under the section of the TPA, what was required was for the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) to cause an application to be made to a judge in chambers after obtaining the consent of the President.

The judge held that under Section 45 of the Constitution, a court was empowered to make such a prescription order, where the activities of a group of people threaten national security and the liberty of other members of the society.

Justice Kafarati dismissed the application and awarded N500,000 cost against IPOB.

The group’s lawyer, Ifeanyi Ejiofor, thanked the judge for his “well considered ruling,” but said he will appeal the decision.

But Ohanaeze Ndigbo has decried the judgment.

A statement by the President-General, Nnia Nwodo, said: “It is unfortunate that our courts are allowing themselves to be used for unlawful and political ends. As defined by international standards, IPOB has done nothing to qualify being called a terrorist organisation.

“Sadly, the Federal Attorney General in his parochialism, unmitigated bias and calumny, has not found it necessary to classify the Fulani herdsmen as terrorists, despite their classification by the Global Terrorist Index as the fourth deadliest terrorist organisation in the world.

“Ohanaeze frowns at this nepotism, this denigration of our judiciary and this stigmatisation of our children.”


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