In a ruling issued on Thursday, the Enugu State High Court declared the 2017 proscription of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) by the Southeast Governors’ Forum as an instance of administrative abuse and therefore null and void.
Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, the leader of IPOB, had initiated legal proceedings to challenge the proscription, contending that IPOB is a registered organization, and its members are exercising their right of association. Kanu’s special counsel, Barr Aloy Ejimakor, presented the case.
The reliefs sought in the lawsuit included the removal of IPOB from the list of terrorist organizations, in line with the provisions of the African Charter and the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Nnamdi Kanu also sought a declaration that self-determination is a recognized right, the publication of public apologies in three national newspapers, damages amounting to N25 billion, and an injunction to prevent the government from pursuing criminal charges against him.
During the judgment delivery, Justice A.O. Onovo concurred with the applicant, stating that the African Charter is binding on Nigerian courts, and therefore, self-determination is not a criminal offense.
In terms of monetary damages, the court awarded N8 billion in damages to Kanu. However, the court declined jurisdiction in preventing the criminal trial of Kanu, citing that it is within the purview of the Supreme Court.
Ejimakor commended the court for being the last resort for the common man, expressing gratitude for justice prevailing in the matter since 2017. He stated, “The court has reaffirmed the hope of the common man in the judiciary, and it has saved thousands of lives.”
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