HomePoliticsCSOs Call For Probe Of Enugu High Court Verdict On IPOB

CSOs Call For Probe Of Enugu High Court Verdict On IPOB

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In response to recent news about the Enugu High Court’s ruling against the Federal Government in a case filed by the Independent People of Biafra (IPOB), the Save Nigeria Movement (SNM) criticized the IPOB leadership and legal team for focusing on media campaigns instead of clarifying the reasons behind the widespread violence, harm, and devastation inflicted on Nigerian lives and properties, particularly within the Igbo community.

Reacting to the Enugu High Court judgment delivered by Justice A. O Onovo, who purportedly awarded 8 Billion Naira in damages to the organization IPOB against the Federal Government, Rev Solomon Semaka, the convener of SNM, stressed that such a ruling was a blatant distortion of justice and an exploitation of the legal proceedings by both the judge and IPOB counsels.

Maintaining that Nigerians, particularly the Igbo populace, whose lives are constantly threatened by the malicious and harmful operations of IPOB, are entitled to a clearer grasp of the legal violations, the group emphasized the importance of a more equitable approach within the justice system.

It is requesting for a judge to undermine the minimum standard of regular court process to favor a terrorist group for any reason.

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‘When you take a cursory review of the said subject matter (Proscribed status) of IPOB and the events that precede the bizarre judgement, you will see clearly the desperation and deliberate intent of the terrorist organization lawyers and her leadership to sustain propaganda for public sympathy and more importantly for the financial gains associated with their terrorists activities, hence their endless legal escapades including shopping black market judgements.’

The group recalled that in 2017, following the incessant and unjustified loss of thousands of lives of innocent citizens especially of Igbo people, security personnel and destruction of property worth billions of naira caused by IPOB, the Federal High Court in Abuja had proscribed the body as a terrorist organization. The landmark judgement received wide commendations from across the country.

In a follow-up ruling on January 22, 2018, at the instance of IPOB, the court dismissed a motion it (IPOB) filed to challenge the legal validity of the proscription order which it said was surreptitiously obtained by the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF). For the second time, they lost in their efforts to set aside the proscription. While Government has remained patience and taken the path of rule of law to deal with the IPOB case, the body rather prefers to grandstand because its business of violence is lucrative.

‘In the Enugu High Court matter, it is clear that both IPOB and her lawyers as well as the judge are out to achieve similar aims namely; individual and collective financial gains and to also jeopardize national security’

‘Otherwise, how else does any lawyer or judge worth his/her salt contemplate to litigate on a matter that the same IPOB had earlier lost in a January 22, 2018 ruling which dismissed IPOB’s application to set aside their proscribed status? Conceding without agreeing to the legality of the January 22 ruling, IPOB still filed an appeal against the ruling, making it the second appeal having lost in the main matter in 2017 ruling. This appeal on this same subject matter is still pending at the Court of Appeal to this day.’

‘Even lay people who are conversant with court processes understand that when a superior court of records like the Federal High Court passes a judgment, it can only be appealed to the court of appeals or at best, for the same court to set aside its earlier judgement ” Now, in this instance, IPOB had first, appealed against the 2017 judgement of the Federal High court which proscribed it as a terrorist organization, as earlier mentioned but the court in January 22, 2018 denied the application. IPOB, dissatisfied, went ahead to file an appeal at the Court of Appeal. The case is still pending in court and was last adjourned on October 17, 2023 according to reports “

‘Flowing from above, the group wondered how a case decided by a Federal High court and which is still pending on appeal at the Court of Appeal found its way into the records of an Enugu State High Court, a lower court than the Court of Appeal or at best a court of coordinate jurisdiction with the Federal High court. Head or tail, the matter has no business in Enugu High court save for the reason of shopping a black market judgment. The group accused IPOB leaders and her lawyers of trying to legitimize terrorism using the Nigerian Courts funded by Federal Government in whose authority IPOB doesn’t believe and challenged them to explain to Nigerians while they had to against all known legal procedure rush to a state high court to set aside a judgement of the Federal High court which judgment is still a subject of pending appeal to this day. If IPOB could abandon an appeal they instituted on the same subject matter before a competent court of appeals in Abuja and rush to a high court in far away Enugu to upturn a Federal High court judgment, then it goes to confirm that IPOB and their lawyers have found willing judges who are ready to play ball against national security and the rule of law ‘

‘We all know that no judge in the South East can stand the intimidation of IPOB and their leadership perhaps because of the fear of death which is the least punishment for both innocent Ibos and those who seek to promote cohesion and national unity ” Rev Semaka advised judicial officers to show courage in the dispensation of justice without fear or favor in the overall interest of national security.’

The group emphasized its determination to formally bring the matter to the attention of the appropriate authorities, particularly the National Judicial Council (NJC), advocating for an inquiry into the questionable judgment obtained at the Enugu High Court. The objective is to rectify this troubling pattern in the interest of national security, maintain the rule of law, and stay true to the democratic principles that define Nigeria, the statement reaffirmed.

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