From: Godwin Tsa, Abuja
The Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) asked the acting Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice Abdu Kafarati, to set aside the orders he made proscribing and designating it as a terrorist group.
The acting Chief Judge had on Wednesday issued the proscription order after listening to an ex parte application by the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami (SAN).
However, in a motion filed by counsel to the pro-Biafra group, Ifeanyi Ejiofor, yesterday, the group argued that its proscription was unconstitutional.
The motion, which was predicated on 13 grounds contended that the proscription order was made without jurisdiction, “as the order was granted against an entity unknown to law.”
The grounds of the application read in part, “That the ex-parte order made on the 20th day of September 2017 by this Honorable Court was made without jurisdiction, as the order was granted against an entity unknown to law.
“That there is a clear suppression and misrepresentation of facts in the Attorney General’s Affidavit evidence, pursuant to which the order was granted.
“That the order is unconstitutional, as it was made in clear violation of the constitutionally guaranteed right of the Indigenous People of Biafra to self determination; 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; right to fair hearing, right to freedoms of expression, and the press and rights 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.
“That a declaratory order cannot be made pursuant to an ex-parte application, without hearing from the party against whom the order was made.
“The Indigenous People of Biafra who are majorly of Igbo extraction, have no history of violence in the exercise of their right to self determination.”
Controversy has trailed the decision of the Federal Government since the order declaring IPOB a terrorist organisation was made with rights activists and lawyers faulting the order of the court.