By Kayode Adeoti with Agency report
The Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, yesterday, gave judicial backing to the executive order of President Muhammad Buhari declaring the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) as a terrorist group and also proscribed its activities.
This was contained in a motion No: FHC/ABJ/CS/871/2017 filed by the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN).
The acting Chief Judge, Justice Abdu Kafarati granted all the four orders sought by the AGF.
Malami had approached the court among other prayers to grant an order declaring the activities of IPOB (Respondent) in any part of the country especially in the south east and South South regions of Nigeria as acts of terrorism and illegality.
The court resolved all the four orders sought in favour of the applicant in a three page document downloaded last night in Ilorin and signed by the court register, Prince Babatunde Adejoro Ashda.
Other orders included”
“An order proscribing the existence of the IPOB in any part of Nigeria, especially South/East and South/South regions of Nigeria either in group or as individuals by whatever names they are called and publishing same in the official gazette and two (2) National Dailies is granted.
“An order restraining any person or group of person from participating in any manner whatsoever in any form of activities involving or concerning the prosecution of the collective intention or otherwise of the respondent (IPOB) under any other name or platform however called or described is granted.
Recall that IPOB has been agitating for secession from the Federal Government and its leader, Nnamdi Kanu had recently come under heavy criticism by his kinsmen who accused him of being sponsored by opposition politicians with Turkish link.
…France source of funds – FG
The Federal Government has identified France and the Diaspora as the sources of funding for the activities of the banned Independent Peoples Of Biafra (IPOB).
This is coming as President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the group’s proscription as previously announced by the Defence Headquarters (DHQ).
Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, disclosed these while briefing State House correspondents on the outcome of the meeting of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) presided over by Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo in Abuja, on Wednesday.
He said: “We have the records. We know IPOB collects money from many people from diaspora. They collect money from many people in Nigeria they collect money from some foreign countries. This is clear.
“Let me tell you, the financial headquarters is in France. We know but you see, can you as a government stop sending money to your parents? You have to block the sources of finance. That is what I said recently.
“It is incontrovertible that some people in diaspora contribute money to IPOB. Where does he get his money from? We know this as a fact.
“Again, there are a few very naughty diplomatic issues which you need to skip. For instance, who does not know that the IPOB internal radio is located in London? We know the diplomatic moves we have been taking and approaching the UK. All the damages it has done but they don’t see it that way. For them it’s about freedom of expression.
“If we have a person in Nigeria openly soliciting arms to come and fight the UK, what would you think. Would you consider that freedom of expression?
“And this is a country that also has a history. What did IRA do to be labeled a terrorists organisation? They were planting bombs, they were fighting the British army.
“I don’t want any diplomatic row. We know for a fact where the funding is coming from and we are going to stop them but it’s difficult to stop them and we have been working on it and we will not stop.”
Still talking about the sponsors of IPOB, the minister also reiterated his blame on treasury looters and disgruntled politicians, saying; “I think this is not rocket science. Any treasury looter would do everything possible to distract government.
“If by any act, God forbid it, Nigeria is today engulfed in war, and Nigeria is now involved in trying to quell unrest, will the courts be spared?
“What would be the first priority of government? It will be to quell that riot. So, it is a way of distraction to ensure that government is not focused.
“So, it’s not rocket science that a person who today has a case in court or almost going to jail will try and cause confusion. He would go and support IPOB.”
Mohammed dismissed the issue of legality as had been stressed by critics, saying that if the president had been bothered by the legality of banning that group, the country would probably have been up in flames by now.
However, he conceded the rights to any group or individuals who desired self determination in a non-violent way.
The minister gave reasons why IPOB was proscribed, maintaining that it had raised its own security force, armed and engaged in extortion of innocent citizen.
…says, we’ve cut Kanu, others to size
The Federal Government yesterday said the secessionist group, Indigenous People of Biafra, has been cut down to size, adding that with its proscription by the South-east governors, the group is already running out of oxygen.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said this during a chat with State House Correspondents at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, on Wednesday.
Mohammed said IPOB had metamorphosed into a band of thugs and had perpetrated several acts of violence which no reasonable government in the world could condone.
He said, “Let me state clearly that it is within the rights of individuals or groups to seek self-determination. But this pursuit has to be non-violent. Where any group crosses the line by engaging in violence, it risks being cut to size and that’s exactly what has happened to IPOB.
“I am not interested in the semantics or legality of troop’s deployment or the proscription of IPOB. All I know is that IPOB has engaged in terrorist activities such as: Setting up parallel military and paramilitary organisations, clashing with the national army and attempting to seize rifles from soldiers, using weapons such as machetes, molotov cocktails and sticks and mounting roadblocks to extort money from people, among others.
“To those who have engaged in semantics or legality, I ask: Which country in the world will tolerate those activities I have listed above? Which national army will look the other way when it is being attacked by a band of thugs?”
… Kwara Igbos denounce group
By Daniel Ayantoye
The Kwara State chapter of Igbo Community Association has dissociated itself from the activities of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), adding that the leader of the group, Nnamdi Kanu has taken his agitations beyond expectation.
According to the President General of the association, Chief Okeke Boniface, the Igbos in Kwara have no intention of associating with Kanu or any member of his group.
“As a community, we are expected to abide by the decision of the generality of the Igbos because as an Igbo whether you are born today or 100 years old already, you are a Biafran. However that does not translate to being a member of IPOB because if we are, we should have had an IPOB office here in Kwara.
“Kanu has no right and is in no position to decide the future of the Igbos,” he added.
Boniface however applauded the Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki for speaking against the claim by the Nigerian Army that IPOB is a terrorist group.
According to Boniface, the statement credited to Saraki will go a long way in fostering peace and harmony in the country.
He stressed that asserting IPOB as terrorist group is capable of aggravating crisis in the country.
Boniface who stated that the Federal Government has not been fair to the Igbos, said that the delay in the construction of the second Niger Bridge and removal of some Igbos from political offices is an act of marginalisation of the tribe.
… Saraki tasks Igbo Senators on peace in South-East
The Senate President, Dr Abubakar Bukola Saraki, has tasked Senators from the South-East region to seriously educate their constituents on the need to maintain the unity of Nigeria.
Speaking during a meeting with the South-East Senate caucus, Saraki said that the National Assembly was spearheading the fight against calls for disintegration of the country.
He added that the meeting became imperative because of the urgent need to save Nigeria from total collapse.
He said “You must all go to your constituencies to douse tension as Nigeria cannot afford another civil war against.
“The senate is trying to look at the peaceful coexistence of all Nigerians.
“And for us to move forward, I want Senators from the South- East to live up to expectation in getting the people to tread softly.
“Nigerians must be made to reflect deeply that not all the countries of the world want us as a country to remain as one, to remain united as a country with 170 million people and for us to disintegrate to 30 million cannot work, it cannot help us as our strength as a country would be threatened.
“It had been predicted that Nigeria will break in 2015 and thank God that we outlived that and these countries are not happy that we are still together hence they want us to divide which explains why I am going on with these meetings, preaching peaceful coexistence among one another.”
…APC slams South-East govs, Army over proscription
The All Progressives Congress (APC) in Anambra State has denounced the proscription of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) activities by South-east governors.
The party also disagreed with the Nigeria Army, over the latter’s declaration of IPOB as a terrorist organisation without due process of law.
In a statement signed by its Anambra State Publicity Secretary, Okelo Madukaife, the APC said it was wrong for the governors to take such action against a body campaigning for the right to self-determination of the South-East without following due process.
It stated that although it does not, in any way endorses what it called the weird ways of the violent faction of IPOB, but inspired by the wordings in the code of ethics of APC regarding the rule of law, it held that the illegalities of that action of IPOB should be addressed legally.
The statement reads: “We are worried that governors, who should point the way for the South East, including Anambra State Governor, Willie Obiano, could lose their heads when others were doing so, and thereby, failed to live up to their responsibilities as leaders.
“We hold that the governors, who, in unison, ought to have drawn the attention of the army to an error in their pronouncement, instead, endorsed it, without due process or broad consultations, and traded away the constitutional rights of an organisation in the South East. Nothing constitutes a bigger betrayal of trust.
“It is our view that the five governors should reverse themselves now; as such illegality may be cited as precedence, going forward.
“We, therefore, call on the Federal Government to call the Nigerian Army to order, to the extent only of veering into the powers reserved for civil authorities, as so much has been experienced in our history, as a nation, not to take some of these costly slips for granted.
“We do not recommend any governor who participated in that infamous decision back to office in the next governorship election of the respective states, whenever such comes.
“This would serve as a big deterrent to future leaders in the South East that political leadership is serious business that invites its arrowheads to be alert, courageous, thorough and farsighted. Hence, only people prepared and seasoned for leadership should seek the mandate of the people.”
…Igbo play worst politics in Nigeria, says Okorocha
Imo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha, stated that the Igbo play the worst politics in Nigeria.
Speaking during an interactive session with journalists in Owerri, the state capital, Okorocha said the Igbo have to change their strategy to remain relevant in Nigerian politics.
He said gone were the days when other ethnic groups need the input of the Igbo before they could win an election, especially with the latest “alliance” between the Hausa and the Yoruba.
“Today, Hausa have realised they can win an election without Igbo,” he said.
“Igbo have to change their strategy, in order to reclaim their relevance in Nigeria’s power equation. Quote me anywhere, Igbo play the worst politics in Nigeria.
“Hitherto, Hausa used to think they could not win elections without Igbo. Now, they believe with the combined massive populations of Lagos and Kano, they no longer need Igbo to win, hence, the latest alliance between Hausa and Yoruba.
“So, where is Igbo today in Nigerian politics?”
Okorocha also condemned the agitation of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), saying the group created a feeling of distrust among other ethnic groups.
He questioned the wisdom of the Igbo seeking to break away from Nigeria when their chance of producing the country’s president “is around the corner”.
“I have always said Igbo have this feeling of abandonment. IPOB would have made better impact if they had operated under any other name other than Biafra, to push their demand for equity in sharing of the nation’s political and economic resources. The call for secession was childish,” he said.
“IPOB should have fought their struggle like the Niger Delta youth, Arewa youth and Yoruba group.