Justice Buba of Federal High Court, Enugu, on Wednesday clarified that the Indigenous People Of Biafra, IPOB, under the Customary Government is not a terrorist organisation as its not the same as the one proscribed by the FG.
He made this clarification when the matter between Customary Government of the Indigenous People of Biafra, CG- IPOB, Vs. the Federal Government of Nigeria was called up in the court today.
The counsel to the Federal Government from the Ministry of Justice, Barr. E.E Nwokolo had presented an ‘affidavit of fact’ that IPOB that instituted the case is proscribed and as such, should not be heard by the court. In his reaction to the claim, the Solicitor General of the CG-IPOB, Barrister Emeka Chigozie Emekesiri insisted that the IPOB in the suit is under the customary government, answerable to the Supreme Council of Elders.
After listening to both parties, Justice Buba of the Federal High Court-one (the admin judge) quashed the affidavit of fact presented by the counsel to the FG maintaining that the plaintiff has been able to prove that the IPOB in the suit is not a terrorist organisation.
The Judge reserved ruling on “” jurisdiction” for Friday, October 4th, 2019.
The Customary Government of IPOB had through an ex parte application filed on June 20, 2019, sought the court’s leave and jurisdiction to commence a suit action against the defendants.
Also joined as defendants in the suit, apart from the Attorney General of the Federation, were former Heads of State, General Olusegun Obasanjo and General Yakubu Gowon for their respective roles during and after the civil war in 1967.
In an originating summons in the lawsuit marked FHC/EN/CS/103/2019, the plaintiff, is praying the court to determine whether the direction and/or instruction given to members of the Claimant by President Muhammadu Buhari, on March 5, 2016, on Al Jazeera Television that they should organize themselves and vote to have a State within a State which they have accepted and complied with by organizing themselves has created an obligation on the defendants from which the defendants can no longer withdraw.
The plaintiff’s lawyer also asked the court to determine “whether, by the direction or instruction of the defendants which the members of the Claimant have accepted and complied with as aforesaid, they now have the right to conduct their referendum and vote to have their State of Biafra as a self-governing autonomous region within the Nigerian State just like Scotland governs itself within the United Kingdom of Great Britain.
“Whether, notwithstanding and in the absence of any directions, instructions, promises or offers from the Defendants, the members of the Claimant have the legal and inalienable right to self-determination pursuant to Articles 19 – 25 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act, Cap A9 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004 (Cap 10 LFN 1990)