IPOB not a terrorist group, Court rules, says self determination not a crime

FG asked to pay IPOB leader N8b

By Samuel Ogunsona

The Indogenous Peoples of Biafra, (IPOB) is not a terrorist organisation, a High Court in Nigeria has ruled.

The decision represents a landmark victory for Nnamdi Kanu and his group IPOB.

The Court also fined the Federal Government of Nigeria to pay N8b in compensation.

The High Court of Enugu State in the SUIT NO: E/20/2023 filed in January 2023 against the Southeast Governors’ Forum and the Federal Government has asked to declare the proscription of IPOB illegal.

IPOB’s lawyer, Alloy Ejimakor argued that IPOB is not a terrorist group and that the declaration of IPOB as a terrorist group was in contravention of Section 42 of the Constitution which prohibits discrimination on the basis of ethnicity.

Justice A.O. Onovo of the Enugu Highcourt granted the practical application of the Terrorism Prevention Act and the executive or administrative action of the Respondents being the Southeast Governors Forum and the Federal Government which directly led to the proscription of IPOB and its listing as a terrorist organisation.

The court ruled that the abduction and detention of Nnamdi Kanu as a member and eader of IPOB is illegal, unlawful, unconstitutional and amounts to infringement of his fundamental right not to be subjected to any disabilities or restrictions on the basis of his ethnicity as enshrined and guaranteed under Section 42 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended).

The Court said his fundamental rights as enshrined under Articles 2,3,19 and 20 of the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights (Enforcement and Ratification) Act were violated.

The Court also ruled that self determination is not a crime and thus cannot be used as a basis to arrest, detain and prosecute the IPOB leader, Kanu.

The Court ordered the respondents, jointly or severally, to issue official Letter(s) of Apology to the Kanu for the infringement of his said fundamental rights; and publication of said Letter(s) of Apology in three (3) national dailies.

The Court also ordered the respondents to, jointly or severally, pay the sum of N8,000,000,000.00 Kanu being monetary damages claimed by the him against the respondents jointly and severally for the “physical, mental, emotional, psychological, property and other damages suffered by the Applicant as a result of the infringements of his fundamental rights by the Respondents.”

Kanu’s lawyer in a statement made available to Irohinoodua thank his team including Barristers Patrick Agazie, Ifeyinwa Nworgu, Mandela Umegborogu, Ozioma Eguzoribe, Edith Chidimma Eze and Obianuju Iloanya for the victory at the Court.

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