The Indigenous People of Biafra, on Thursday, filed five grounds of notice of appeal before the Court of Appeal in Abuja, to challenge the decision of the Federal High Court in Abuja, proscribing it and designating it as a terrorist group.
The group filed the appeal even as its leader, Mr. Nnamdi Kanu, has not been seen in public since September 2017.
The acting Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice Abdu Kafarati, had at the Abuja Division of the court, on September 20, 2017, made an interim order proscribing IPOB and designating it as a terrorist group.
The court’s decision followed an ex parte application by the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami (SAN), to that effect.
But in its motion filed before the same judge on September 22, 2017 IPOB contended that the proscription order made by the court was unconstitutional.
The motion was anchored on 13 grounds, first of which was that the proscription order was made without jurisdiction “as the order was granted against an entity (IPOB) unknown to the (Nigerian) law.”
IPOB’s lawyer, Mr. Ifeanyi Ejiofor, had submitted that IPOB was only registered in seven other countries and not in Nigeria and as such the group could not sue or be sued in Nigeria.
The AGF office subsequently filed a counter-affidavit justifying the proscription order of the court.
Justice Kafarati heard the two parties on November 14, 2017 after which he adjourned until January 18, 2018 for ruling.
Delivering his ruling on IPOB’s application, on January 18, the judge resolved all the three formulated issues against the group, and held that the September 20, 2017 proscription order of the court was validly issued.
The judge also awarded the sum of N500,000 as cost against IPOB for filing the “unmeritorious” application.
But the group, through its lawyer, Ejiofor, filed its notice of appeal on Thursday, urging the Court of Appeal to set aside “the entire decision” of the Federal High Court proscribing it and designating it as a terrorist group.
In the first of its five grounds of appeal, IPOB insisted that the mandatory statutory condition requiring the President’s approval, under Section 2 (1) (C) of the Terrorism (Prevention) (Amendment) Act, 2013, was not met.
It contended that the memo purportedly giving an approval to the AGF’s request for the proscription of IPOB was signed by the Chief of Staff to the President, Mr. Abba Kyari, instead of President Muhammadu Buhari himself as stipulated by the law.
The group therefore contended that “the trial judge erred in law, when he ruled that the mandatory statutory condition requiring President’s approval, under Section 2 (1) (C) of the Terrorism (Prevention) (Amendment) Act, 2013, was satisfied, on the authority of the memo of the Honourable Attorney General of the Federation to the President dated September 15, 2017, thereby occasioning a miscarriage of justice.”