High Court proscribes Nigeria’s secessionist group

The Federal High Court of Nigeria has granted the government’s interim injunction proscribing the activities of the secessionist Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).

The Chief Judge, Justice Abdul Kafarati, granted the ex-parte application filed by Justice minister Abubakar Malami.

Just before leaving for the US for the United Nationals General Assembly, President Muhammadu Buhari gave a written approval for the proscription of the group, pending legal process.

The government says IPOB was ignorant of the depth of unity in the diversity of Nigeria.

Information and Culture minister Lai Mohammed, on a Human Rights radio Embelembe, the minister faulted IPOB over hate and divisive speeches by its leader, Mr Nnamdi Kanu, and their attacks and extortion of innocent Nigerian at illegal road blocks.

Mr Mohammed said the call by Mr Kanu on the Igbo “not to attend any church where the pastor is a Yoruba man” was premised on ignorance on the diversity of the country.

Violent division

He stressed that Nigerians were so interwoven and united and a call for violent division would not succeed.

Mr Mohammed commended the military, the state governors, particularly from the East and the North, the traditional rulers and religious leaders for their timely intervention against the IPOB crisis.

The authorities of the five South East states where agitation prevailed had earlier banned IPOB.

The governors said activities of IPOB were inimical to the corporate existence of Nigeria.

With the proscription of IPOB, members would be considered terrorists as earlier declared by the Nigerian military.

Mr Kanu has been on the run since last Friday after a face-off with the troops in Umuahia in the South East's Abia State.

People were killed

The secession group, a splinter arm of the Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB), became prominent in 2015 when it accused the new Nigerian government of marginalisation.

The Kanu-led group lampooned President Buhari for neglecting the people of the South East, and thus opted for secession of Anambra, Imo, Abia, Enugu, and Ebonyi states.

Mr Kanu, a dual citizen of UK and Nigeria, parted ways with the leader of MASSOB, Mr Ralph Uwazurike, who appointed him to run the Radio Biafra in London.

Past attempts by the region to secede from Nigeria led to a three-year civil war in which more than two million people were killed.

Mr Kanu and three others have also been standing trial for treason and he was granted bail on health grounds.

Authorities say he had since breached the bail conditions for which the government was seeking a revocation.

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