Federal Court Backs IPOB’s Proscription

Justice Abdul Kafarati of the Federal High Court in Abuja Wednesday endorsed the presidential order banning the Indigenous People of Biafra(IPOB).

Kafarati, who is the acting chief judge of the court, granted the injunction in chambers.

The Minister of Justice, Mr Abubakar Malami, had filed an exparte application urging the court to grant the injunction.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that President Muhammadu Buhari had earlier given written 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 the separatist group a terrorist group.

There was controversy thereafter as to the legality of the order, without a court backing.

In a related development, Information Minister Lai Mohammed on Wednesday said that the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) group had written to western nations alleging genocide in Igbo land but that President Muhammadu Buhari had commenced the process of proscribing the group.

The minister said this while addressing the state House Press corps on the current situation in the country.

“For those who are fixated with legality, I have good news for them.

“The President has approved the process of proscribing IPOB and before he left he did approve the proscription and the procedure is on.

“And I ask, if the President had been overly concerned with the legalese where will Nigeria be today.’’

The minister noted that he had to deal with the issue of IPOB in many radio and television programmes in the past few days.

He acknowledged that it was the rights of individuals or groups to seek self-determination but the pursuit should be within the confines of the law and non-violent.

He stated that where any group crossed the line by engaging in violence it then became out of tune.

He avoided the semantics of whether the group ought to have been proscribed by the South East Governors or on the labeling of IPOB as a terrorist group by the military.

But in the other hand he noted that the group had engaged in terrorist activities.

“All I know is that IPOB has engaged in terrorist activities such as setting up prior military and para military, clashing with the national army and attempting to seize rifle from soldiers.

“It used weapons such as machetes and Molotov cocktails and mounting road blocks to extort money among others.

“The leader has openly solicited for arms,’’ he said.

Mohammed said that no national army in the world would tolerate the IPOB activities or any army that would look away when attacked by band of thugs.

The minister noted that but for the swift response of the South East governors the crisis would have turned to something else. (NAN)


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