Stanley Uzoaru, Owerri
Leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) Nnamdi Kanu has petitioned the President of the court of appeal, for failing to hear the appeal against the group declared as a terrorist group.
Kanu, through the group’s media and publicity secretary, Emma Powerful wrote to the chairman, National Judicial Commission (NJC) Tanko Mohammed intimating him of their feeling on the delay in responding to the matter it has brought before the appeal court.
According to Kanu “, On September 20, 2017, Justice Abdu Kafarati of the Federal High Court, Abuja issued an Ex Parte Order proscribing the IPOB and declaring it a ‘terrorist organization’.
“The Order was issued pursuant to an ex parte application brought by the Attorney-General of Nigeria. Subsequently, IPOB’s application to vacate the Order was denied, thus necessitating an Appeal to the Court of Appeal in March 2018.
” Without prejudice to the pending Appeal, it is pertinent to state that IPOB has been existence for more than 6 years as it became legally registered in the United Kingdom on July 22, 2014 as an organization geared to the peaceful pursuit of the group or solidarity rights of the peoples of the defunct Republic of Biafra to self-determination.
Kanu while reminding the CJN that IPOB has maintained it’s non violence attitude all this years added “You may also be aware that IPOB has similar status and recognition in the USA, Germany, Canada, Italy, Sweden, Switzerland, South Africa, Japan and 30 other civilised countries around the world. It has has never for once engaged in any act of violence or otherwise threatened any act of violence.
However, Kanu said despite its mode of operation unlike other groups was likened to a terrorist group by the army and followed up by the court.
He said “It is curious that a few days later, the Federal Government followed on the heels of the Nigerian Army and declared IPOB a terrorist group.
“This order contravened a previous and still subsisting final order virtually declaring that IPOB is not a terrorist organization, that it is not an unlawful society, and that its members have not committed any act of terrorism within the meaning of Nigeria’s Terrorism Prevention Act.
Consequently, Kanu reveal that his members have been subjectes to all forms of humiliation and embarrassment by the federal government’s action.
“This action has criminalized (within Nigeria) millions of IPOB members worldwide and rendered them subject to interdiction and confiscation of their monies, bank accounts, and other properties; and otherwise stigmatized them as terrorists subject to arrests, detentions, prosecutions, and even extrajudicial killings.
“Beyond the inherent unfairness, the declaration of IPOB as a terrorist group by Nigeria is discriminatory because there are other non-Biafran organizations in Nigeria, some confirmedly violent, some not, but all geared to fighting or agitating for one right or the other for members of their closet group, but which have not been declared terrorist organization(s).
Kanu however maintained that “it is against the foregoing backdrop that IPOB preferred the said Appeal, with the high hopes that such is the first opportunity for the group to get a fair hearing on the matter.
” Yet, over the two years later and counting, the Court of Appeal has not heard the appeal and there is no reason to believe that Appeal will be heard soon. It is shocking that a matter as grave as labelling an innocent movement a terrorist group would take this long without a formal hearing.
“Wherefore, we request the Chief Justice – pursuant to his powers as the Chairman of the National Judicial Council – to direct that the Appeal be heard without further delay. Kanu stated.