HomeFeaturesCourt Deems IPOB's Proscription Illegal, Unconstitutional

Court Deems IPOB’s Proscription Illegal, Unconstitutional

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The Southeast Governors’ Forum’s 2017 ban on the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) was deemed illegal by Justice A. O. Onovo of the Enugu State High Court on Thursday.

Kanu took the case to court in an attempt to reverse the prescription, emphasizing that IPOB is a registered organization, and its members are exercising their lawful right to association.

The defendants being challenged in the case are the Southeast Governors and the Federal Government.The lawsuit was filed by Barr Aloy Ejimakor, who serves as special counsel for Kanu.

The reliefs sought by Kanu are, ‘A declaration that the practical application of the Terrorism Prevention Act and the executive or administrative action of the respondents 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 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.’

Read more: Referendum For Biafra Is Non-Negotiable – Simon Ekpa

‘A declaration 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.’

“An order mandating and compelling the respondents, jointly or severally, to issue official letter(s) of apology to Kanu for the infringement of his said fundamental rights; and publication of said letter(s) of apology in three national dailies.

“An order mandating and compelling the respondents to, jointly or severally, pay the sum of N8,000,000,000.00 (Eight Billion Naira) to 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 their fundamental rights by the respondents.”

In delivering the judgment, Justice A.O. Onovo concurred with the applicant’s argument that Nigerian courts are bound by the African Charter, thus affirming that self-determination is not a criminal offense.His judgment established the proscription as unconstitutional.

The court ordered N8 billion in damages to be paid to Kanu and demanded apologies in national newspapers. However, it refused to intervene in Kanu’s ongoing criminal trial, citing that the matter is currently being deliberated by the Supreme Court.

Ejimakor applauded the court for being the last hope of the coming man. In his words, ‘We are grateful that justice had prevailed over this matter since 2017. The court has reaffirmed the hopes of the common man in the judiciary. You have saved thousands of lives.’

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