The Acting Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice Abdu Kafarati, had on September 20, 2017, issued the proscription order upon an ex parte application by the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami (SAN).
But, in a motion filed before the same judge on September 22, the group through its lead counsel, Mr. Ifeanyi Ejiofor, contended that the proscription order was unconstitutional adding that it was obtained by the AGF by suppressing vital facts.
IPOB’s motion canvassed 13 grounds in opposition to the order proscribing it and also designating it as a terrorist organisation.
Justice Kafarati fixed January 17 for judgment after hearing Ejiofor and the Federal Government’s legal team led by the Solicitor-General of the Federation and Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Justice, Mr. Dayo Apata, on Tuesday. (Punch)
Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has called on Nigeria’s international partners to designate the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) a terrorist organisation.
The Minister made the call in his article entitled “Thwarting Terrorism in Nigeria”, which appeared in the US newspaper Washington Times on Thursday, October 12, 2017.
He argued in the article that IPOB’s actions qualify the group as a terrorist organisation in most jurisdictions.
On September 20, 2017, the Federal Government of Nigeria proscribed IPOB, which has been agitating for a separate state in the South-East.
“The terror lays bare their opportunism. They masquerade as a separatist movement, yet they endanger the very people they claim to represent. In reality, IPOB cares about IPOB and nothing more,” Alhaji Mohammed said.
He quoted the words of IPOB leader Nnamdi Kanu such as, “If they fail to give us Biafra, Somalia will look like a paradise compared to what will happen to that ‘zoo’ (Nigeria).” “I don’t want peaceful actualisation (of Biafra)”; “We need guns and we need bullets”; “If they don’t (give us Biafra), they will die.” The Minister insisted that IPOB as a terrorist organisation like ETA in Spain, the Tamil Tigers was in Sri Lanka, and the PKK is in Turkey (all of whom are proscribed by the U.S. State Department).
He vowed that the Muhammadu Buhari administration will not make the same mistake as the previous in allowing terrorists to capture land.
“The government reiterates its appeal to its international partners to proscribe the organisation, and in doing so, starve it of the funds which give it sustenance. Nigeria has just defeated one preventable terrorist insurgency. This one must not be given the chance to get a foothold,” the Minister wrote.
The Senate has mandated its leadership to meet with the executive to resolve the crises emanating from series of ethnic agitation across the country, especially from the South East.
The senators reached the decision yesterday at its resumption after eight-week recess.
It was part of a truce Igbo senators reached with their northern counterparts at a closed-door session, which lasted about two hours.
At the end of the executive session, President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, read out the summary of the outcome of the meeting:
“At about 12.30pm, we concluded our closed-door session. We deliberated on key national issues and resolved as follows that the unity of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is non-negotiable.
“We also resolved to seek all lawful avenues to ensure that peace is restored to all parts of Nigeria.
“All groups or associations currently in agitations for one reason or the other should do so through the laws of the land.”
It was learnt that Saraki, had before the session, intimated his colleagues of issues that would dominate discussions.
A lawmaker who spoke to Daily Sun said, Saraki opted for a closed-door session to allow lawmakers speak frankly on the Biafra issue.
He said South East lawmakers were asked to speak first. Eyinnaya Abaribe, it was learnt, spoke extensively on behalf of South East lawmakers.
He pleaded with senators from other geopolitical zones to condemn the recent “invasion” of the geopolitical zone by soldiers and the subsequent proscription of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) by the Federal Government.
The lawmaker said: “South East lawmakers also pleaded with other senators, especially those from the North to support them and prevail on the Federal Government to rescind the proscription of IPOB.
“There were few hiccups, but Saraki was able to calm the whole thing.
“In the end, lawmakers from the South East were able to make their case and we all agreed that the Senate leadership will meet with executive and find a way to resolve this.”
Northern lawmakers, however, gave a condition that they would support South East senators if they openly criticised any act of violence by any agitating group, in any part of the country.
It was learnt that South East lawmakers reluctantly agreed. At the end of the meeting, lawmakers agreed to also shelve the debate till another legislative day to be announced by the Senate leadership. (The Sun)
The Federal Government has gazetted the order of the Federal High Court in Abuja which proscribed the Indigenous People of Biafra and designated the group as a terrorist organisation.
The gazetting was part of the requirements imposed on the Federal Government by the court to finalise the proscription of the group.
The Acting Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice Abdu Kafarati, had, on September 20, issued the proscription order upon an ex parte application by the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr Abubakar Malami (SAN).
Justice Kafarati, who heard the AGF’s motion in chambers, had, in addition to directing the Federal Government to gazette the order, ordered it to publish it in two national dailies.
With the gazetting, it is left for the Federal Government to publish the proscription order in two newspapers.
Meanwhile, our correspondent learnt on Monday that following the gazetting of the proscription order, the Federal Government, through the Central Authority Unit of the Federal Ministry of Justice, had commenced moves to notify banks, Nigerian embassies abroad and foreign missions operating in Nigeria from further relating with IPOB.
Meanwhile, IPOB, through its lawyer, Mr Ifeanyi Ejiofor, had, barely 48 hours after the court’s proscription order was issued, filed a motion on September 22 (Friday) before the same court, seeking the nullification of the said order for being made by the court without jurisdiction, among other alleged defects.
However, a copy of the Gazette, sighted by our correspondent on Monday, showed that the five-page document was printed and published by the Federal Government Printer in Lagos on September 20, 2017, the particular date the Federal High Court in Abuja issued the proscription order.
The document was signed by the AGF.
It is titled, ‘Terrorism (Prevention) (Proscription Order) Notice, 2017’ is contained in Volume 104 of the Federal Republic of Nigeria Official Gazette.
Apart from its cover, the document has four pages, A69 to A73 and it is the ‘Government Notice No. 85’.
The three orders in the gazette notified the public of the “proscription order”; “liability for participation in proscribed group’s activities”, and the “short title of the order”.
It notified the public of the proscription of IPOB and warned that any person or group of persons participating in the activities of the group “in any manner” would be violating the provisions of the Terrorism (Prevention) Act, 2011 as amended in 2013 and would be liable to be prosecuted.
The Gazette, with a commencement date of September 20, 2017, read in part, “NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that by the Order of the Federal High Court, Abuja, in suit No. FHC/ABJ/CS/871/2017, dated September 20, 2017 as per the schedule to this Notice, the activities of the Indigenous People of Biafra are declared to be terrorism and illegal in any part of Nigeria, especially in the South-East and South-South regions of Nigeria as proscribed, pursuant to Section 2 of the Terrorism (Prevention)Act, 2011 (as amended).
“Consequently, the general public is hereby warned that any person or group of persons participating in any manner whatsoever in any form of activities involving or concerning the prosecution of the collective intentions or otherwise of the said groups will be violating the provisions of the Terrorism (Prevention) Act, 2011 (as amended) and liable to prosecution.
“This Notice shall be cited as the Terrorism (Prevention) (Proscription Order) Notice, 2017.”
Also published in the ‘Schedule’ to the Gazette were the orders issued by the court on September 20.
Sources in the Federal Ministry of Justice told The PUNCH on Monday that whichever institution, foreign or local and foreign nation that failed to respect Nigeria’s stance on the group would be designated as “unfriendly to Nigeria”.
Our correspondent also learnt that President Muhammadu Buhari was expected to appoint an Administrator, who would oversee the forfeiture of IPOB’s assets, home and abroad, to the Federal Government.
According to the sources, the forfeiture of IPOB’s assets would no longer require any court order.
They explained that IPOB, having been designated unlawful as stipulated under Section 62 of the Criminal Code Act, the President was empowered to appoint an administrator to oversee the forfeiture of the group’s assets.
One of the sources added, “With the Gazette done, the Central Authority Unit of the Federal Ministry of Justice will notify banks within and outside the country to stop relating with IPOB directly or indirectly.
“Foreign missions operating in Nigeria and Nigerian embassies abroad will also be notified.
“The President is also expected to appoint an administrator for the forfeiture of IPOB’s assets since the group has been declared unlawful in line with Section 62 of the Criminal Code Act.
“The forfeiture will no longer require any court order.”
The Special Assistant to the President on Prosecutions, Chief Okoi Obono-Obla, confirmed to our correspondent the moves being made by the Federal Government following the proscription of IPOB.
“This is the procedure contemplated by section 2(1)(c) of the Terrorism (Prevention) Act 2011 as amended in 2013, that the prosecution shall be published in the official gazette of the Federal Government,” Obono-Obla told The PUNCH on Monday.
“This is final that IPOB is an unlawful society, it’s an illegal society. So, the Federal Government of Nigeria and the President will subsequently appoint an administrator to take over all the properties belonging to IPOB in Nigeria and abroad.”
He said the gazetting was a warning to foreigners promoting IPOB, adding that those who continued to subscribe to the group’s membership would be prosecuted.
He stated, “This is a warning not just to IPOB but all the groups that have been threatening national security and corporate existence of Nigeria that the Federal Government will clamp down on such groups.”
Reacting to the contrary stance of some foreign nations on the status of IPOB, Obono-Obla said, “What the foreign countries are talking about is international politics. International politics is no law and it does not have anything to do with Nigeria.
“Any country that is a foreign friend must respect the laws of Nigeria. If you don’t respect the laws of Nigeria, then we treat you like an unfriendly country. There are diplomatic consequences for a country treated as unfriendly.
He stressed that the government would notify Nigerian embassies abroad in order to help to cut off the funding of the group, adding that banks, which violated the proscription order, would be prosecuted.
Earlier in his statement released late on Sunday, Obono-Obla described as inconsequential the refusal of some countries to classify IPOB as a terrorist group, despite Nigeria’s recent proscription and designation of the group as a terrorist organisation.
He added, “So, it is a terrorist organisation! This is also an organisation that was hounding and killing Nigerians in Rivers and Abia states before the military intervention!
“This is a group that were burning police stations; killing police officers, throwing bombs at military convoys, threatening to make the country ungovernable; threatening to stop governorship election in Anambra State!
“Most importantly, a court of competent jurisdiction – the Federal High Court as presided over by the Acting Chief Judge, Justice Abdul Kafarati – upon an application filed by the Honourable Attorney General of the Federation hinged on Section 2 (1) (a) & (b) of the Terrorism (Prevention) Act, granted an order proscribing IPOB! So, whatever the European Union or the United States of America or any foreign country says about IPOB is immaterial, irrelevant and of no moment!”
With particular reference to the EU and the US, Obono-Obla said meddling in Nigeria’s internal affair could erode the nation’s sovereignty.
He added that the US might not see IPOB as a terrorist group because it was registered in California, saying without being registered in Nigeria, the group’s operation in the nation was criminal under the Company and Allied Matters Act 2004.
He said, “I want to add the USA may say IPOB is not a terrorist organisation by US Law because it is a registered business concern in the State of California in the United States!
“However by Nigerian law, a foreign company, which is not registered by the Corporate Affairs Commission by the provisions of Section 53 of the Companies and Allied Matters Act 2004 and by Section 54 of the Companies and Allied Matters Act, is operating illegally.
“It is a criminal offence for a foreign company to operate in Nigeria without registration! So, all this while IPOB was operating in Nigeria illegally!? (Punch) http://www.twitter.com/RNNetwork1
The Indigenous People of Biafra on Friday asked the Federal High Court in Abuja to set aside the orders proscribing it and designating it as a terrorist group.
The Acting Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice Abdu Kafarati, had on Wednesday, issued the proscription order upon an ex parte application by the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr Abubakar Malami.
Punch reports that in a motion filed by IPOB’s lawyer, Mr Ifeanyi Ejiofor, before the same judge on Friday, the group contended that the proscription order was unconstitutional.
The motion was anchored on 13 grounds, first of which was that the proscription order was made without jurisdiction “as the order was granted against an entity unknown to law”.
The grounds of the application read in part, “That the Exparte order made on the 20th day of September 2017, by this Honourable Court was made without jurisdiction, as the order was granted against an entity unknown to law.
“That there are a clear suppression and misrepresentation of facts in the Attorney General Affidavit evidence, pursuance to which the Order was granted.
“That the Order is unconstitutional, as 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 our Law under (Ratification and Enforcement Act) (Cap 10) Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 1990; Right to fair hearing, Right to freedom of expression, and the press and Rights to Peaceful Assembly and Association; clearly provided for under Sections 36, 39 and 40 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as (Amended) 2011.
“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. (Punch)
The Police Force headquarters in Abuja, yesterday said the leader of the Independent People Of Biafra (IPOB), was not in its custody.
This is coming just as IPOB, raised the alarm over the whereabouts of its leader, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, allegedly abducted by the soldiers who attacked his home in Isiama Afaraukwu Ibeku, in the ongoing operation python dance in the south-east by soldiers of the Nigerian army.
Force Public Relations Officer, Jimoh Moshood, who made this known to Daily Sun, in an interview, however, warned that the police would not hesitate to arrest any person or group of persons posing to be members of IPOB, following the proscription of the group by governors of the south-east states.
Mr Moshood, who said the police force headquarters has deployed more mobile policemen to the south-east and south-south parts of the country to ensure law and order, maintains that the IPOB leader was not in Police custody.
He said the question about the whereabouts of the IPOB leader should be directed to his members.
“He is their leader, they should tell us his whereabouts. “You know the IPOB, has been proscribed by the governors in those states and they remain an unlawful organization and we will ensure that we sustain peace in the area and we will not allow such an organization to disturb the public peace”.
“For anybody that has committed an offence, he is liable for arrest and prosecution. But I can tell you that he is not in our custody”.
Moshood, who said the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Ibrahim Idris, has placed police personnel across the country on red alert to avoid reprisal attacks following activities of IPOB, stressed that the police have arrested some IPOB members suspected to have taken part in the burning down of a police station that eventually led to the death of a personnel at Aba.
He said: “We have arrested some of those people who attacked and burnt down police station at Aba, and they have been charged to court and anybody that was linked or found to be culpable for the burning of the station which resulted in the death of one of our personnel would be prosecuted. (The Sun)