- Terrorism Has No Boundary, FG Replies US Govt on IPOB
The federal government has decried the position of the United States that the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) is not a terrorist organisation.
The Nigerian authority outlawed the group which is demanding an independent state of Biafra and declared it a terrorist organisation, following the outcry that trailed the military exercise: Operation Python Dance II, launched by the military in Abia State, on September 11.
Giving his insights on BBC Focus on Africa wednesday night, the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, described the US position on IPOB as “unfortunate.”
Mohammad said terrorism has no boundary and called on all nations to work together to ensure it is defeated.
“It is (US opinion) unfortunate, because if countries decide to pick and choose which organisation is terrorist and which is not, bearing in mind that terrorism has no boundary. I think what we should do is that every country should work together to ensure that terrorism doesn’t strike,” Mohammad said.
The minister’s echoed his view just as the President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief John Nnia Nwodo, on a separate BBC platform, queried the selective treatment accorded the arm-bearing Fulani herdsmen, who often ransack farm settlements, kill and maim their victims.
Nwodo reiterated Ohanaeze’s position that IPOB was not a terrorist group and the government clamp down on them was excessive.
But Mohammad deferred, saying that the Fulani herdsmen’s criminality should not be misconstrued for terrorist act.
He said IPOB, led by Nnamdi Kanu, had already crossed the red line, when it confronted the Nigeria Army, set up its own parallel force, openly solicited for arms all over the world, and was already issuing its own passports and printing its currency.
“Acts and utterances of IPOB were act of terrorism. For instance, Nnamdi Kanu said he wanted Biafra, not peacefully, but by force. And that if they don’t get Biafra, Somalia will be a paradise to the kind of mayhem they will unleash. He is the same man that set up his own Biafra National Guard and Biafra Security Service,” Mohammad said.
The minister said Nigeria is a fragile polity and the whole nation could be embroiled if there are reprisal attacks all over the country by ethnic groups opposed to IPOB.
Meanwhile, Ifeanyi EJiofor, counsel to Kanu has approached the Abuja division of the Federal High Court for an order compelling the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai, to produce Kanu in court on his next trial date.
In a motion filed before the court, Ejiofor stated that the whereabouts of Kanu remain unknown since the day Kanu’s home was invaded by men of the Nigerian Army.
Troops of the Operation Python Dance II had on September 12, 2017, allegedly invaded the family home of Kanu in Afaraukwu, Abia State. Also not spared in the attack was the palace of Eze Israel Kanu, the traditional ruler of the Afaraukwu community and father of the IPOB leader.
Since the invasion the whereabouts of Kanu and his parents remain unknown.
In the originating summons, Kanu through his lawyer is praying the court for an order compelling the COAS to produce him (Kanu) in court on the next adjourned date to enable him defend himself in the terrorism charges preferred against him by the federal government and to make further orders which it may deem fit.
The motion which is predicated on five grounds is asking the court to take judicial notice of the fact that Kanu have lawfully exercised his constitutional right of freedom of association, peaceful assembly and self determination.
EJiofor claimed that his client was still “enjoying the bail granted him by the court, when the prosecution in his trial requested the court to revoke his bail which was granted him by Justice Binta Nyako.
The lawyer also accused the Nigerian army of acting under express command handed down by Buratai and violently invaded the applicants home in Afara Ukwu Ibeku in Umuahia, killing several people while others were left injured.
Grounds for the relief read in part: “That on September 14, 2017, the Nigerian military led by soldiers of the Nigerian army invaded the applicants house on a murderous raid, where life and mortar bullets were fired on unarmed and defenceless populace, leaving about 28 persons dead and abducting many.
“The applicant, who was in the house during this bloody onslaught by the soldiers, has not been heard from or seen after this bloody attack on his home by the agents of the respondent since September 14, 2017.
“That the invading soldiers in their desperate bid to ensure that the applicant is caught in the attack, climbed stairs to his bedroom upstairs to shot him; walls of his bedroom were riddled with bullets.
“The invading soldiers who had direct contact with the applicant on this fateful day (September 14, 2017) should be in a position to produce the applicant before the court. It is either the respondent’s rampaging soldiers abducted the applicant during this raid or must have killed him in the process.
“Section 40 of the Federal High Court Act empowers this court to order that a Writ of Habeas Corpus ad Subjiciendum; (A Writ directed to someone detaining another person and commanding that the detainee be brought to court) be issued on the respondent, to produce the applicant in court, particularly now his substantive criminal trial is coming up on October 17,, 2017.
“The court is vested with inherent powers under Section 6(6) (a)- (d) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 as (amended 2011) to entertain this application and grant reliefs sought herein.”
Recall that the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister for Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN), had approached the acting Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice Abdul Kafarati, with an ex-parte application asking him to proscribed all the activities of IPOB and declare it a terrorist organization.
Responding, Justice Kafarati in granting the application also ordered that the federal government gazette the order and published it in two national dailies.