The Federal Government would not change its stance on the proscription of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) notwithstanding the recognition accorded it by the United States of America and other foreign nations as a non-terrorist group.
Special Adviser to the President on Prosecution, Okoi Obono-Obla, who made the disclosure said rather than yield to international position, promoters and members of the pro-Biafra group would soon be charged by the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami (SAN), for allegedly operating illegally in violation of Section 54 of the Companies and Allied Matters Act.
He explained that IPOB through its activities and operations terrorised, harassed or intimidated “those who do not subscribe it to its separatists ideology and ethnic bigotry before its proscription.
“So it is a terrorist organisation. This is also an organisation that was hounding and killing Nigerians in Rivers and Abia states before the military intervention.
“This is a group that was burning police stations, killing police officers, throwing bombs at military convoys, threatening to make the country ungovernable, threatening to stop governorship election in Anambra State. Most importantly, a court of competent jurisdiction (Federal High Court) presided over by the acting Chief Judge, Justice Abdul Kafarati upon an application filed by the Honourable Attorney General of the Federation hinged on Section 2 (1) (a) & (b) of the Terrorism (Prevention) Act granted an order proscribing IPOB. So, whether EU or United States or any foreign country says about IPOB is immaterial, irrelevant and of no moment.”
The lawyer added that the proscription of IPOB and its designation as a terrorist group by the court was Nigeria’s domestic affair, which foreign nations should not meddle in.
Obono-Obla warned that meddling in the internal affairs of Nigeria by the European Union and the United States of America could erode the nation’s sovereignty.
“I have previously said that the international community should not meddle in our internal affairs because doing that will amount to an erosion of our sovereignty. The EU has no business absolutely and totally with our internal matters. So, if EU says it does not see IPOB as a terrorist group, it does not matter as far as Nigeria is concerned.
“It is inconsequential. We all know by the definition of a terrorist organisation within the meaning of the term as defined by the provisions of the Terrorism (Prevention) Act , IPOB is a terrorist organisation. Also, by its advocacy and modus of operation, it is a terrorist organisation. It used to terrorise, harass or intimidate those who do not subscribe it to its separatist ideology and ethnic bigotry before its proscription.
“I want to add that the USA may say IPOB is not a terrorist organisation by US Law because it is a registered business concern in the State of California in the United States. However, by Nigerian law, a foreign company which is not registered by the Corporate Affairs Commission, by the provisions of Section 53 of the Companies and Allied Matters Act 2004 is illegal.
“And by Section 54 of the Companies and Allied Matters Act, it is a criminal offence for a foreign company to operate in Nigeria without registration. So, all this while, IPOB was operating in Nigeria illegally.”
Regardless of the Federal Government’s position, the Customary Government of the Indigenous People of Biafra (CG-IPOB) said the process to conduct a referendum for the Biafran people still living in Nigeria has been activated.
A statement signed by Director of Information, CG-IPOB, Ndubuisi Anaenugwu, said the Biafra Solicitors in the United Kingdom from the law chambers of Jaycee Gold Solicitors, London, has been instructed by the Bilie Human Rights Initiative and Bilie for Biafra, which represents IPOB in the United Nations ECOSOC to activate the referendum process.
The statement noted that the President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief John Nnia Nwodo, the Deputy Chairman of the Supreme Council of Elders of IPOB, Dr. Dozie Ikedife, and the President of Alaigbo Development Foundation, Prof. Uzodimma Nwala, have been notified and have received the documents filed at the United Nations.
Jaycee Gold Solicitors has filed the necessary documentations at the United Nations in accordance with the instructions, the statement claimed.
There are other processes and documentations that would be filed with the Nigerian authorities in due course. The journey to freedom by legal methodology has moved to another level,” the statement noted.
Anaenugwu also disclosed that a website to function as Biafran databank has been built even as he encouraged all Biafrans all over the world to visit the Biafran Customary Government Website and enter their details.
Meanwhile, a member of the House of the Representatives, Oladipupo Adebutu, has blamed the agitation by IPOB on the marginalisation.
“The body language of APC tends to suggest that there is first class, second class and third class citizenry in Nigeria. To me, that has been the main reason fueling this agitation,” he said.
Adebutu said the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) led government in the last 16 years had created an enabling environment and equal opportunity for Nigerians to thrive and maintained that the APC should be liable for the current woes being experienced by some sections of Nigeria.
He spoke, yesterday, while fielding questions from newsmen in Ijebu Ode, Ogun State.
Adebutu, who represents Remo Federal Constituency at the National Assembly, said though IPOB had genuine reasons to agitate, the situation must be handled with caution in order not to throw the country into turmoil.
The lawmaker, however, said similar situations of uncaring nature of the APC government had been witnessed in states the party was at the helm.
“It has now become imperative that people of Nigeria should take cognizance of people they elect into offices.
“We have the similar situation in Ogun State where the government has been uncaring. We have seen wanton destruction of properties.”