Special counsel to Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, Barr Aloy Ejimakor, ha explained how the ruling of Enugu State High Court that the Indigenous People of Biafra is not a terrorist organization will save thousands of lives and also liberate Nigerians from government excesses.
Speaking exclusively with THE WHISTLER, Ejimakor said the judgement has shown that IPOB is not doing anything wrong.
“There many youths being persecuted on the ground of being members of IPOB. With this judgment, IPOB, founded for self-determination, is not doing anything wrong.
“Members are not committing any wrong, and therefore, you cannot grant arrest, detention and prosecution of any IPOB member, including Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, on the basis of self-determination.
“The South East governors fired the first salvo in September 2017, followed by an executive decision by the federal government to proscribe IPOB, and then the declaration of IPOB as a terrorist organization.
“Such actions are prohibited expressly under Section 42 of the Nigerian Constitution. It is a fundamental right of every Nigerian not to be discriminated against in the exercise of government decisions, policies and actions.
“Many Nigerians are not aware of it. We are vigilant to that. We noted that the action of South East governors was an executive action, which was followed three days later by the federal government raising a memo through the Attorney General of the Federation to the President, approving the proscription of IPOB and the declaration of the group as a terrorist organization.
“All of these combined constitute the executive actions and decisions which Section 2 of the constitution prohibits. It is a fundamental right, meaning you cannot violate it, and get away with it.
“Our case in chief is that there are other ethnic organizations across Nigeria that pursue one interest or the other. Nigerians know them. There is a proliferation of ethnic organizations, with some of them being evidently violent.
“The FG never took any step to proscribe anyone of them or declare any of them a terrorist group. It took this proactive step, supported by Southeast governors in targeting IPOB in particular.”
He said the legal team which he led took the matter to court to interrogate the actions of South East governors in line with the provisions of the constitution.
In his words, “You can make all these allegations in the media, but if you don’t take them to court to be adjudicated, they remain mere allegations. So we decided that the best thing to do is to test the rightness or wrongness of this decision taken against IPOB. We did and we prevailed today, by the glory of God.
“We asked for many things, and they were granted, except that the court doesn’t have the jurisdiction on the ongoing criminal proceedings against Kanu because it is already before the Supreme Court. But it graciously granted our requests on those reliefs it feels that it has jurisdiction.”
THE WHISTLER reported that Justice A.O. Onovo, on Thursday, declared that the proscription of IPOB by South East governors and the FG was unconstitutional and a violation of fundamental rights of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu. The judge also ruled in favour of Kanu that self-determination is not a crime.
The court also granted the reliefs that a public apology be tendered to Kanu in three national dailies, and awarded N8bn monetary compensation to the IPOB leader. The court did not order his release because it was before the Supreme Court.