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Court orders FG, S’East govs to apologise, pay Kanu N8bn for rights violations

Court orders FG, S’East govs to apologise, pay Kanu N8bn for rights violations
Court orders FG, S’East govs to apologise, pay Kanu N8bn for rights violations (Photo: Daily Trust)

A High Court sitting in Enugu on Thursday, has declared as unconstitutional, the proscription and designation of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), as a terrorist organization by the Federal Government and the South East Governors.

The ruling was a sequel to a suit brought before the court by the IPOB legal team led by Aloy Ejimakor, challenging the 2017 proscription of IPOB as a terror organisation.

Justice A. O Onovo, while delivering judgment on the suit marked E/20/2023, declared that “the practical application of the Terrorism Prevention Act and the executive or administrative action of the Respondents (Southeast Governors Forum and the Federal Government) which directly led to the proscription of IPOB and its listing as a terrorist group”, was unconstitutional.

The Court according to a release by Ejimakor further held that “IPOB being comprised of citizens of Nigeria of the Igbo and other Eastern Nigerian ethnic groups, professing the political opinion of self-determination and the consequent arrest, detention and prosecution of the Applicant (MAZI NNAMDI KANU) as a member/leader of said IPOB is illegal, unlawful, unconstitutional and amounts to infringement of the Applicant’s fundamental right not to be subjected to any disabilities or restrictions based on his ethnicity as enshrined and guaranteed under Section 42 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) and his fundamental rights as enshrined under Articles 2,3,19 &20 of the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights (Enforcement and Ratification) Act.”

The release made available to Vanguard further read: “Today, I led a team of lawyers to a landmark victory before the High Court of Enugu State in SUIT NO: E/20/2023 filed in January 2023 against the Southeast Governors’ Forum and the FG (Respondents) for their collective executive actions (in 2017) that led to the proscription of IPOB and declaring it a terrorist group in contravention of Section 42 of the Constitution which prohibits discrimination based on ethnicity.

“In a well-considered judgment that lasted for over three hours, the High Court (coram Justice A.O. Onovo) granted the following Reliefs: ‘that self-determination is not a crime and thus cannot be used as a basis to arrest, detain and prosecute the Applicant, MAZI NNAMDI KANU.

“Ordered the Respondents, jointly or severally, to issue official Letter(s) of Apology to the Applicant (MAZI NNAMDI KANU) for the infringement of his said fundamental rights; and publication of said Letter(s) of Apology in three (3) national dailies.

“Ordered the Respondents to, jointly or severally, pay the sum of N8,000,000,000.00 (Eight Billion Naira) to the Applicant (MAZI NNAMDI KANU), being monetary damages claimed by the Applicant 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.”

The IPOB Leader thanked his “erudite colleagues in chambers – Barristers Patrick Agazie, Ifeanyi Nworgu, Mandela Umegborogu, Ozioma Eguzoribe, Edith Chidimma Eze and Obianuju Iloanya”, for their contributions in the triumph.

Recall that an Umuahia High Court had also indicted the Federal Government and its security agencies over the September 17 military raid of Kanu’s ancestral compound in Afaraukwu Ibeku Umuahia.

A federal Court in Umuahia had also declared the ordered the Federal Government to apologize to Kanu for violating his fundamental human rights.

The Appeal Court in Abuja had equally ordered the immediate and unconditional release of Kanu, and his return to Kenya where he was abducted and extraordinarily renditioned to Nigeria.

It declared his rendition and continued illegal detention, a violation of his fundamental rights, but the Federal Government has refused to free the IPOB Leader who has remained in solitary confinement at the Abuja headquarters of the Department of State Services, DSS, since June 2021 when he was renditioned to Nigeria.

Techrectory with Agency Report.

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Written by Percy Onyeka

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