The leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, has challenged the declaration by a Federal High Court that the group is a terrorist organization.
In a suit filed on behalf of the group on Friday, September 22 at a Federal High Court in Abuja, Ifeanyi Ejiofor, who is Nnamdi Kanu’s lawyer queried the court order labeling IPOB a terrorist group. He claimed that it was heard ex-parte and such the group will challenge it to present its own side of the argument to the court.
He reiterated that IPOB was a non-violent group and that its members bear no arms. He wondered how such a group could be labeled a terrorist organization.
Following the exchange of hostilities between soldiers deployed to the South East for Operation Python dance, the Nigerian army announced that IPOB was a militant terrorist group. The announcement was met with widespread condemnation and criticism of the military’s capacity to make such claims. The Army Chief Gen. Burutai tried to douse the tension by claiming it was more of a pronouncement than a declaration.
However, the Federal government last Wednesday obtained a court order proclaiming IPOB a terrorist group and President Buhari signed an executive order proscribing the activities of the group.
IPOB started a vociferous campaign for secession via Radio Biafra before the general elections of 2015 and when its leader Nnamdi Kanu was arrested members took to the streets and shut down major cities in the South East. He was later granted bail in June on medical grounds but he went back to his Umuahia base and stepped up his attacks on the Federal Govt and violated all his bail conditions.
Last month the Attorney General of the Federation approached an Abuja high court to revoke his bail before the recent crisis began. Meanwhile his whereabouts remain unknown even as his date with an Abuja high court on the 17th of October 2017 approaches.