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Nigerian Court Rules The Proscription Of IPOB As Unlawful And Illegal, Awards 8 Billion Naira Reparation To The IPOB Leader

 Nigerian Court Rules The Proscription Of IPOB As Unlawful And Illegal, Awards 8 Billion Naira Reparation To The IPOB Leader The recent judg...

 Nigerian Court Rules The Proscription Of IPOB As Unlawful And Illegal, Awards 8 Billion Naira Reparation To The IPOB Leader

The recent judgment by the Federal High Court in Enugu State, which ruled that proscription of the Indigenous People Of Biafra (IPOB) movement as a terrorist organization, was unlawful, and went further to award the sum of Eight Billion Naira to Mazi Nnamdi Kanu has raised significant legal and political implications. This landmark decision, delivered by Justice A.O. Onovo, challenges the Federal government's ill-conceived actions and underscores the importance of fundamental people's rights and self-determination in a democratic society. 

In this article, we will provide an in-depth analysis of the legal aspects and broader logical insight with regards to this judgement.

The case filed in January 2023 by the IPOB legal team, seeking redress against the submission of the Southeast Governors' Forum and the Federal Government, which consequently led to the proscription and classification of IPOB as a terrorist group. Just like the British during the Nigeria-Biafra war erroneously dubbed the aggrieved Biafrans of 1967-70 as rebels and the aggressors. This nonetheless judgment ruled in favor of Nnamdi Kanu and IPOB, vindicates and highlights the legality of duo's and the infringement of their fundamental rights by the Nigerian State.

Indeed, this verdict has profoundly impacted on the government's approach onwards in addressing specific dissenting movements and voices in Nigeria. It reaffirms the veracious principle that self-determination – in and of itself, is not a crime. The ruling emphasizes that individuals or groups advocating for self-determination should not be subjects to indiscriminate arrests, incarcerations and State-backed extrajudicial persecutions. This is further justified by popular International norms and charters, which recognize the right to self-determination as a fundamental human/people's right.

The judgment also founded that Nnamdi Kanu's arrest, detention, and prosecution as a member/leader of IPOB were illegal, unlawful, and unconstitutional. These actions were deemed to be a violation of his fundamental right not to be subjected to discrimination based on ethnicity or Political view, as enshrined in Section 42 of the Nigerian Constitution.

 Moreover, the ruling underscored the violation of Nnamdi Kanu's fundamental rights as per the African Charter on Human and People's Rights (Enforcement and Ratification) Act.

The court ordered the respondents – the Southeast Governors' Forum and the Federal Government – to issue official letters of apology to Nnamdi Kanu for the infringement of his fundamental rights and further directed the publication of these apologies in three national newspapers. This aspect of the judgment represents a significant step towards restorating justice and accountability, and emphasizing the vitality of acknowledging the past wrongs.

One of the most remarkable aspects of the judgment is the award of Eight Billion Naira in monetary damages to Nnamdi Kanu. This award is intended to compensate him for the physical, mental, emotional, psychological torture, and other damages he has suffered as a result of the infringement of his fundamental rights by the respondents. The substantial amount highlights the severity of the violations he endured and aims to relatively repair for the harm caused.

Groundbreaking Implications

1. Reaffirmation of Fundamental Rights: The court's decision reinforces the significance of fundamental rights, especially the right to self-determination and the prohibition of discrimination based on ethnicity. This ruling sets a precedent for the protection of these rights in Nigeria.

2. Rule of Law: The judgment underscores the importance of adhering to the rule of law and due process in addressing issues. It signals that government actions must be in accordance with the constitution and international human rights standards.

3. Accountability and Restorative Justice: The order for official letters of apology and monetary damages is a crucial step toward accountability and justice. It emphasizes the need for acknowledging past wrongs and redressing grievances.

It is important to recall that as a result of the consequent proscription of IPOB, the Nigerian Military led a brutal Invasion and operation against the homestead of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu shortly thereafter, in a bid to eliminate him. Although they failed, but the bloody Invasion claimed the lives of over 28 unarmed civilians in his home and thousands more since 2017 till date, from the South East region. 

While this landmark judgement has summarily vindicated and exonerated IPOB and Mazi Nnamdi Kanu from all false accusations by all judicial standards and ramifications, it is left to see the response of the Executive Federal government, in upholding the holistic decision or if they would rather discarding it as they have done repeatedly.

Come what may, the precedent set by this judgment amongst other, will continue to be a yardstick to evaluate the level of lawfulness or lawlessness exhibited by executive arm within the Nigerian landscape and will determine the how it is viewed not only locally but also globally.

Written By Obulose Chidiebere

Edited By Enenienwite Ikechukwu

For Family Writers Press International

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