IPOB urges court to set aside its proscription
The Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), yesterday approached the Federal High Court, Abuja, seeking an order of the court, setting aside its ex-injunction dated September 20.
In a motion on notice brought pursuant to Section 6(6)(1)(4), the respondent/applicant (IPOB), through its lead counsel, Ifeanyi Ejiofor, and which was filed September 21, held that the exparte order made on September 20, was made without jurisdiction, as the order was granted against an entity unknown to law. It stated further that there was a clear suppression and misrepresentation of facts in the affidavit disposed to by the Attorney General’s evidence, pursuance to which the Order was granted.
In a Suit No. FHC/ABJ/CS 871/17, the federal government through the AGF had obtained an exparte order declaring the IPOB a terrorist organisation and pronouncing their activities illegal. Consequently, the group is seeking an order declaring the earlier order unconstitutional on the ground that it was made in clear violation of the constitutionally guaranteed right of the Indigenous People of Biafra to self-determination; Article 20(1) of the Africa Charter on Human & Peoples Rights, now domesticated into Nigerian Law under (Ratification and Enforcement Act) (Cap 10) Laws of Nigeria 1990; right to fair hearing, right to freedom of expression, and the press as well as the rights to peaceful assembly and association; clearly provided for under sections 36, 39 and 40 of the Constitution.
The motion also read that a declaratory order cannot be made pursuant to an exparte application, without hearing from the party against whom the order was made. “The Indigenous People of Biafra who are majorly of Igbo extraction, have no history of violence in the exercise of their right to self- determination.
“The Indigenous People of Biafra does not carry arms and has no history of arms struggle in the exercise of their constitutionally guaranteed rights to self-determination.
“That prior to and during the military invasion of the South Eastern states, members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) had never at any time, resorted to arms struggle or engaged in acts of violence capable of threatening the national security.
“That the Federal High Court of Nigeria, Per Justice Binta Nyako of Court No 4, had in its rulings delivered on March 1, held that the Indigenous People of Biafra is not an unlawful organisation.
“That the exparte application for the proscription of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and its activities in the South Eastern states pursuant to which the order was granted, was politically motivated, and will in essence, amount to suppression of the wishes and aspirations of the Indigenous People of Biafra who are now being intimidated, using the state force, for expressing their disenchantment with the administration that has relegated them to third class citizens.”
It further held that the hasty manner through which the process leading to the proscription of the respondent’s activity lies and its declaration as a terrorist organization, was activated/initiated, shows a clear manifestation of high-powered ethnic conspiracy against the respondent in particular and the Igbos in general.
“It started with the Arewa Youth Coalition Group’s declaration on August 24, that the respondent should be declared a terrorist organization, among other far-reaching terms, as part of their condition to suspend the quit notices given to Igbos and Southerners living in the North, which was in quick succession followed by the military invasion of the South-East, a relatively peaceful region, their murderous attack in the home of the leader of the respondent, illegal declaration by the Nigerian Military that a non-violent group such as the respondent is a terrorist organisation, and the speedy but clandestine manner the Attorney General approached the court exparte, for an order proscribing the respondent’s activities and declaration as a terrorist organization.
“The exparte order proscribing the activities of the respondent and declaring the respondent a terrorist organization is prejudicial to the subsisting criminal charge/trial pending before Justice Binta Nyako of the Federal High Court, Abuja, in Charge No: FHC/ABJ/CR/383/2015 between F.R.N. V. Nnamdi Kanu & 4 Ors, wherein the court had in the course of the proceedings, held that the Respondent is not an unlawful organization.
The motion held that the military had, in an officially approved ethnic cleansing exercise, presently going on in the South East, massacred over 200 members of unarmed and defenseless members of the respondent, under their coded Operation Python Dance in the South East, including the invasion and unprovoked bloody attack in the home of Nnamdi Kanu, whose whereabouts has remained unknown, since their murderous attack in his home on September 14.
It believed that the Court has inherent powers to set aside its orders when either granted without jurisdiction or granted in error.