Group faults court declaration on IPOB
Access to Justice has faulted the federal high court’s declaration of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) as a terrorist group.
According to the group, the court ruling on IPOB without a fair hearing is unorthodox and they fear that it would further damage public trust in the judiciary.
In a statement signed by its deputy director, Adenike Aiyedun, they said the court’s determinative and conclusive statement is aberrant because its did not give IPOB the opportunity to be heard or oppose the application before arriving at ex-parte.
The acting chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Hon Justice Abdul Kafarat, on Wednesday, September 20, 2017 granted an ex-parte declaration that the activities of IPOB amount to acts of terrorism and illegality, with an order proscribing the group.
However, A2J expressed serious concern about the order of the court, stating that the court’s ruling is hard to rationalise and it will send many scratching their heads and fanning the flames of an already volatile political situation. They further said, the ruling of the court does not stand up to respectable scrutiny and that it is alarming that a court of law would proscribe an organisation through ex-parte proceedings without putting the group on notice of an application seeking its abrogation beggars belief.
They therefore enjoined National Judiciary Council to address the concerns of the public about the efficiency, effectiveness and transparency of the judicial system as courts resume from long vacations and a new legal year opens.
A2J further urged NJC and the CJN to bar judges from neglecting their primary judicial responsibilities of attending to court business, in order to attend to non-adjudicative functions, with strict and narrowly defined exceptions and to ensure that the adjudicative responsibilities of Judges to sit in court, punctually are not adversely affected by the Judge’s participation in conferences, retreats or workshops.
The group advised that such conferences should not clash with the core responsibilities of judges.