Military Has No Right To Declare IPOB Illegal Organisation – Lawyer

Channels Television  
Updated September 18, 2017
Lawyer, Clement Nwankwo.

A lawyer and political analyst Clement Nwankwo, has said there is no legal basis for the declaration of Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, as an illegal organisation.

Speaking on Channels Television Programme, Sunday Politics, Nwankwo said the decisions of the military in a democratic government is guided by the rule of law, the constitution, and other processes, before a group can be described illegal or a terrorist group.

“There is no legal basis for the declaration of Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) as an illegal organisation, it is not in the position of the military to make those declarations.

“I think certainly, the military hierarchy needs to understand that this is a democracy, they are guided by the rule of law, there is a constitution and there are laws and processes for declaring an organisation an illegal. If you look at the terrorism act of 2011, the procedure for declaring an organization a terrorist organization is outlined there.

“So, I think the military needs to go back and read the law and understand that they are an institution that is subject to the laws of this country. They have no right to declare an organization to be illegal.”

Among other demands, the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) are demanding for Biafra country and the breakaway of the South-East region from Nigeria. The political analyst said this demand by IPOB is illegal and IPOB has no right to speak for the people of South-East region, adding that IPOB members are aggrieved at the government because of what they described as marginalization.

“The whole idea or the whole notion that the South-East was once a Biafran country is totally wrong, I have not seen too many people from the South-East region of the country who really want a Biafran country.

“What you see are people who are very aggrieved about what is described as ‘marginalization’, about the inequity and inequality that this particular administration has perpetrated. I think that people are angry that this government is very insensitive to the need to balance and be equitable in the allocation of resources.”

Nwankwo said the military should focus energy on issues arising from external rather than generating internal war by killing innocent civilians.

“We are very disappointed that rather than face these issues (arising from external aggression), the army is instead generating internal wars in the country, fighting and abusing the rights of citizens.

“Let me be expressly clear though, the IPOB organization has no right to speak for the people of the South-East to demand a biafran country. A majority of the people in the South-East do not want a Biafran country, they want equity.

“There are several millions of people from the South-East who do not believe in (the ideologies of IPOB) but when you go in and attack, and abuse people who are doing their businesses, you kill people, then you create sympathies and that is dangerous for this country and the army needs to put a stop to what it is doing, it is not in the interest of Nigeria’s democracy.