The Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice Abdul Kafarati, has affirmed the proscription of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and its activities in Nigeria.
However, the president-general of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, John Nwodo, has faulted the court judgement which upheld IPOB’s proscription as a terrorist group.
Justice Kafarati, in his ruling on a case filed by members of IPOB to challenge the declaration of the group as a terrorist organisation, said the action of the government was in order and ordered the group to pay N500, 000 to the federal government as cost.
Last year, after the federal government’s decision to outlaw the group, the court gave a judicial backing to the executive order of President Muhammadu Buhari outlawing the group.
IPOB had prayed the court to reverse its order proscribing it and designating it a terrorist organisation.
Delivering his ruling on IPOB’s application, Justice Kafarati resolved all the three formulated issues against the group, and held that the September 20, 2017 proscription order was validly issued.
He dismissed the contention of IPOB’s lawyer, Mr. Ifeanyi Ejiofor, that since IPOB was not registered in Nigeria but only registered in some other countries, it could not be sued in Nigeria.
The judge noted that an organisation registered abroad could be likened to a foreigner who could be arrested in another country where he was found to have committed a crime.
He also said the issuance of the proscription order by him in chambers following an ex parte application was in accordance with the provisions of the Terrorism Prevention Act.
But in a reaction to the court ruling, Ohanaeze leader, Nwodo, said IPOB had done nothing to qualify as a terrorist group, defined by international standards.
Describing the judgement as unfortunate, Nwodo said: “The federal attorney-general, in his parochialism, unmitigated bias and calumny, has not found it necessary to classify the Fulani herdsmen as terrorists in spite of their classification by the Global Terrorist Index as the fourth deadliest terrorist organisation in the world.
“Ohaneze frowns at this nepotism, this denigration of our judiciary and this stigmatisation of our children.”
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