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Court adjourns Biafra referendum suit to October 20

By Ernest Nzor, Abuja
21 May 2022   |   4:08 am
A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, yesterday, adjourned hearing on the suit filed by the Coalition of Northern Groups (CNG) seeking a referendum to determine the fate of Biafra and other self-determination agitations to October 20, 2022.

Photo by STEFAN HEUNIS / AFP

A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, yesterday, adjourned hearing on the suit filed by the Coalition of Northern Groups (CNG) seeking a referendum to determine the fate of Biafra and other self-determination agitations to October 20, 2022.

Justice Inyang Ekwo, who presided over the matter, granted all the motions to allow interested parties to be joined in the suit.

Speaking with journalists after the adjournment, Counsel to CNG, Sufiyanu Gambo Idris, said: “What the plaintiff is asking for is the opportunity for all Nigerians to be given the chance whether they want to stay in Nigeria or not, which is their right and we are equally calling for that.

“We felt by the provisions of the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights, every citizen in an African country has the right to say he is no longer interested in remaining in that country not just Nigeria.

“Our clients felt the right thing to do now is to allow every citizen to decide whether he still wants to stay in Nigeria or not. If he wants to stay, let him stay peacefully, and if you want to go, go peacefully,” he said.

On his part, the lead counsel for the Igbo Nation, Victor C. Onweremadu, said the South East was properly joined in matter because the court accepted the argument to join the region.

He said: “The referendum is the only thing that can bring peace in this country. The Igbo nation has been marginalised so much. There is an unjust treatment to the Igbo people in this country. Igbo have suffered in this country.

“One of the injustices that I am always campaigning against is what is happening now. Since the coming of democracy in this country, almost every part of this country has produced a president, sometimes ruling for eight years.

“The North has produced their own President, which is our dear President Muhammadu Buhari. Even our brothers in the South-South have had their own share in this democratic dispensation in Goodluck Jonathan.

The South East is the only major tribe in Nigeria that has been denied the opportunity to rule Nigeria.”

However, the spokesperson of CNG, Abdul-Azeez Suleiman, countered Onweremadu, saying it’s the North East that has been truly marginalised in the country.

His words: “We are the plaintiff in this matter. We are happy that the case we initiated for love of this country is developing into an interesting process with the potential of bringing about an enduring peace in Nigeria.

“We also wish to say that contrary to what the Igbo lawyer just claimed, throughout this political dispensation, it is the North East that can be said to be truly marginalised. The North East has not had the opportunity to even field a vice president, whereas the South East that is over agitated about marginalisation has had three opportunities for the vice presidency.

“The Southeast has had a vice president and three opportunities to produce the president; the North West has produced two presidents and a vice president. The South-South has produced a president and the South-West had produced a president and the current vice. We are hoping that at the conclusion of this suit and eventual conduct of a referendum as sought in the suit, all these issues would be put to rest,” he said.