Under the direction of Justice Anthony Onovo, the Enugu High Court has overturned the Indigenous People of Biafra’s , IPOB, designation as a terrorist organization.
In 2017, the governors of the South-East region and the Federal Government, led by Muhammadu Buhari, outlawed the separatist group and placed its leader, Nnamdi Kanu, under house arrest.
The IPOB leader should not be arrested, detained, or faced with charges because the court said yesterday that self-determination is not a crime.
In January of this year, Kanu petitioned the court through his Special Counsel, Aloy Ejimakor, to have the group’s proscription and terrorist designation revoked on the grounds that it is a legally recognized organization whose members are exercising their right to association.
In accordance with the 1999 Constitution (as amended) and the African Charter, he had asked for the organization to be delisted as a terrorist group and a restraining order to prevent the government from pursuing criminal charges against Kanu.
Justice Onovo concurred in his ruling that Nigerian courts must abide by the African Charter.
He declared that the Terrorism Prevention Act’s practical application, the South East Governors Forum’s (SEGF) and the Federal Government’s executive or administrative action, which directly resulted in IPOB’s proscription, its listing as a terrorist group, and the subsequent arrest, detention, and prosecution of Kanu, are unlawful, unconstitutional, and constitute an infringement on his fundamental rights.
The judge mandated that Kanu receive an official letter or letters of apology from the Federal Government and the governors of the South East for the violation of his fundamental rights, along with their publication in three national dailies.
Kanu sued the Federal Government and the governors of the South East for monetary damages, claiming he suffered physical, psychological, property, and other losses as a result of the violations of his fundamental rights. The court granted him a total of N8 billion in damages, jointly or severally.
Ejimakor hailed the court as the last bastion of hope for the average person.
“We are thankful that justice has won over this matter since 2017,” he said. The court has upheld the average person’s hopes for the judiciary. Thousands of lives have been saved by you.