Stephen Ukandu, Umuahia
The proscription of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, by the South-East Governors and its subsequent designation as a terror organisation by the Federal Government, have been declared unconstitutional by an Enugu High Court.
This is contained in a press statement issued by Aloy Ejimakor, a Special Counsel to IPOB Leader, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu.
The statement made available to Ikengaonline read in full: “Today, I led a team of lawyers to a landmark victory before the High Court of Enugu State in SUIT NO: E/20/2023 filed in January 2023 against the South-East Governors’ Forum and the FG (Respondents) for their collective executive actions (in 2017) that led to the proscription of IPOB and declaring it a terrorist group in contravention of Section 42 of the Constitution which prohibits discrimination on the basis of ethnicity.
“In a well-considered judgment that lasted for over three hours, the High Court (coram Justice A.O. Onovo) granted the following Reliefs.
“1, Declared that the practical application of the Terrorism Prevention Act and the executive or administrative action of the Respondents (South-East Governors Forum and the Federal Government) which directly led to the proscription of IPOB and its listing as a terrorist group, said IPOB being comprised of citizens of Nigeria of the Igbo and other Eastern Nigerian ethnic groups, professing the political opinion of self determination and the consequent arrest, detention and prosecution of the Applicant (Mazi Nnamdi Kanu) as a member/leader of said IPOB is illegal, unlawful, unconstitutional and amounts to infringement of the Applicant’s fundamental right not to be subjected to any disabilities or restrictions on the basis of his ethnicity as enshrined and guaranteed under Section 42 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) and his fundamental rights as enshrined under Articles 2,3,19 &20 of the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights (Enforcement and Ratification) Act.
“2, Declared that self determination is not a crime and thus cannot be used as a basis to arrest, detain and prosecute the Applicant, MAZI NNAMDI KANU.
“3, Ordered the Respondents, jointly or severally, to issue official Letter(s) of Apology to the Applicant (Mazi Nnamdi Kanu) for the infringement of his said fundamental rights; and publication of said Letter(s) of Apology in three (3) national dailies.
“4, Ordered the Respondents to, jointly or severally, pay the sum of N8,000,000,000.00 (Eight Billion Naira) to the Applicant (Mazi Nnamdi Kanu), being monetary damages claimed by the Applicant against the Respondents jointly and severally for the physical, mental, emotional, psychological, property and other damages suffered by the Applicant as a result of the infringements of his fundamental rights by the Respondents.
“I thank my erudite colleagues in chambers – Barristers Patrick Agazie, Ifeyinwa Nworgu, Mandela Umegborogu, Ozioma Eguzoribe, Edith Chidimma Eze and Obianuju Iloanya.”
Recall that despite various court judgements in favour of the IPOB Leader, the Federal Government has refused to free him since his rendition to Nigeria in June 2021.
The Supreme Court has fixed December 15 for the determination of the pending appeal over an earlier court ruling discharging the IPOB Leader of all 15 counts of terrorism charge preferred against him by the Federal Government.