Sunday, 17 September 2017

Proscription of IPOB: South East governors

The proscription of the activities of Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) in the South East by the South East Governors Forum, has drawn the ire of some legal practitioners, who say the governors lack the locus standi to do so.

Conversely, the opposition Peoples Democratic Party and some legal practitioners are in tune with the governor’s decision, saying it was necessitated by the need to stop further killings and destruction of property by soldiers in the zone.
After a meeting of the governors with South-East members of the National Assembly and Ohanaeze Ndigbo, the Igbo socio-political organisation, chairman of the forum and Governor of Ebonyi State, David Umahi, in a six-point communiqué, announced the proscription of IPOB and its activities.

But Chris Okeke, a lawyer said the governors do not have the powers to proscribe the activities of IPOB as, “the constitution recognises the right to choice of association. So, it doesn’t depend on what the governors do, or what they don’t do. It doesn’t even lie with the National Assembly or Mr. President. That you don’t like the name of my organisation, or the face of my organisation is neither here nor there.
“The military are not even making sense in declaring IPOB a terrorist organisation because they do not have the powers to do so. If the military is suspicious of IPOB’s activities, it should have approached the court through appropriate channel to seek such declaration.
“If it had done so, it cannot still go ahead to make a declaration at the same time because that would amount to embarking on self-help. In Ojukwu Vs the Governor of Lagos State, the Supreme Court had made it clear that you cannot talk about judicial process and at the same time embark on self-help. Those two don’t go together. It is either you subject yourself to judicial process or not.”

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