From: Godwin Tsa, Abuja
Ruling on the application by the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) challenging its proscription by the Federal High Court has been fixed for January 17, 2018.
The Acting Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice Abdu Kafarati made the order on September 20, upon an ex parte application by the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami (SAN).
But, in a motion filed before the same judge on September 22, the group, through its lead counsel, Mr. Ifeanyi Ejiofor, contended that the proscription order was unconstitutional adding that it was obtained by the AGF by suppressing vital facts.
IPOB’s motion canvassed 13 grounds in opposition to the order proscribing it and also designating it a terrorist organisation.
Moving the application Ejiofor urged the court to vacate the order of Proscription of IPOB as terrorist organization on the ground that the process followed in obtaining it was defective.
He said that the Terrorist Act is explicit and specific on who can give approval for an organization to be proscribed. He said that President Muhammadu Buhari who the Act specifically empowered to approve the Proscription order did not give his approval as required by the law.
He said that a letter written by the Attorney General of the Federation to the President did not amount to approval nor the letter signed by the Chief of Staff to the President, Abba Kyari, conveying approval as the duty of the President under the act cannot be delegated.
The order of the court did not comply with the processes of Section 40 of the terrorist Act which defined the office of the President and all actions that are to be taken by him under the act. He said in the instant case no approval was given by the President.
He also argued that IPOB has never engaged on any terrorist activities. That procession and rallies which the organization is engaged in were not terrorist acts.
Ejiofor said that IPOB was registered in England, India and several other countries and that her members have the right for self determination under the United Nations Chapter.
The counsel denied claims by the Solicitor General, Mr. Apata that IPOB was linked with the importation of arms into the country by a Turkish national.
Justice Kafarati fixed January 17, 2018, for judgement after hearing Ejiofor and the Federal Government’s legal team led by the Solicitor-General of the Federation and Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Justice, Mr. Dayo Apata, on Tuesday.
Apata vehemently opposed the application in the interest of justice, public peace, constitutional order, territorial integrity and national security.
He said that the application should be refused because IPOB is engaged in the terrorist activities .
The Solicitor General of the Federation presented 11 exhibits depicting instances where the activities of IPOB have been classified by security agencies as terrorist acts, including the killing of a policeman, submitted that Nnamdi Kanu the leader of the proscribed IPOB has called Nigeria a zoo that must be scattered. He said that a less, but similar incident fueled the Rwandan genocide.