Court Reserves Judgment in Suit Seeking to Vacate IPOB’s Proscription

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Abuja — Justice Abdul Kafarati of the Federal High Court yesterday reserved ruling in the suit by the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) to vacate its proscription order.

Kafarati reserved the judgment till January 17, 2017 after the Solicitor General of the Federation, Dayo Apata and counsel to the IPOB, Ifeanyi Ejiofor, adopted their briefs of argument.

Ejiofor had urged the court to vacate the order on the ground that the process followed in arriving at the proscription was defective.He said the Terrorist Act was explicit and specific on who can give approval for an organisation to be so proscribed.

According to the counsel, President Muhammadu Buhari, whom the Act specifically empowered to approve the proscription order, did not give his approval as required by the law.

He noted that the letter written by the attorney general of the federation to the president did not amount to approval.The counsel added that the letter by the Chief of Staff to the President, Abba Kyari, which conveyed the approval as the duty of the president couldn’t be delegated under the Act.

“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. In the instant case, no approval was given by the president,” Ejiofor argued.

He further stated that the IPOB has never engaged in any terrorist activity, and that processions and rallies that it engaged in were not terrorism.

Ejiofor explained that IPOB was registered in England, India and several other countries, adding that its members have the right to self-determination under the United Nations Charter.

The counsel, however, denied the claim by the solicitor general, that a Turkish national linked IPOB with the importation of arms into the country.

In his argument, Apata opposed the application in the interest of justice, public peace, constitutional order, territorial integrity and national security.

The prosecution further presented 11 exhibits to show instances where IPOB activities were classified by security agencies as terrorist acts.He cited an alleged killing of a policeman and Nnamdi Kanu’s description of Nigeria as zoo that must be scattered, adding that a lesser incident fueled the Rwandan genocide.

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