Law News
Court Affirms IPOB’s Proscription, Designation as Terrorist Group

The Federal High Court in Abuja on Thursday dismissed the application by the Indigenous People of Biafra asking for an order reversing the order proscribing the group and designating it a terrorist organisation.

Delivering his ruling on IPOB’s application, the Acting Chief Judge of the Federal High, Justice Abdu Kafarati, resolved all the three formulated issues against the group, and held that the September 20, 2017 proscription order of the court was validly issued.

The judge awarded N500,000 as cost against IPOB for filing the “unmeritorious” application.

Justice Kafarati had on September 20, 2017, made the order proscribing IPOB and designating it as a terrorist group 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 by the group before the same judge on September 22, 2017, it was 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 AGF office subsequently filed a counter-affidavit justifying the proscription order of the court.

Justice Kafarati heard the two parties on November 14, 2017 after which he adjourned for ruling on whether or not the proscription of IPOB should be proscribed.

But ruling on Thursday, the judge dismissed the contention of IPOB’s lawyer, Mr. Ifeanyi Ejiofor, who submitted that IPOB was only registered in seven other countries and not in Nigeria, as such the group could not sue or be sued in Nigeria.

The judge noted that an organisation registered abroad could be likened to a foreigner who could be lawfully arrested in another country where he was found to have committed a crime.

The judge also held that the issuance of the proscription order by him in chambers following an ex parte application was in accordance with the provision of the Terrorism Prevention Act.

He said, “I hold that the ex parte application by the Attorney General of the Federation was properly brought.

“The Indigenous People of Biafra can sue and be sued in Nigeria. I so hold.

He also held that hearing the AGF’s motion ex parte, did not violate the group’s right to fair hearing, rights to freedom of assembly, freedom of assembly and freedom of expression.

According to the judge, the procedure adopted by the court in hearing and issuing the ex parte order was as provided for in section 21 of the Terrorism (Prevention) Act.

He held that the AGF met all the requirements for the filing of the motion, including exhibiting the presidential order proscribing the organisaton.

“The memo of the President was attached to the application as Exhibit 11A,” he ruled.

Shortly after the ruling was delivered on Thursday, IPOB’s lawyer, Ejiofor, vowed to appeal against it.

By: Ade Adesomoju, Abuja
The Punch News