President Muhammadu Buhari has officially signed the proscription of Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB in Nigeria.
Last week, the Defence Headquarters declared IPOB as a ‘militant terrorist’ organization.
Although, the Senate President, Bukola Saraki condemned the ban on IPOB by the military and South east Governors, tagging it as unconstitutional but the Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Buratai said the DHQ’s statement was only a proclamation not declaration.
In a bid to follow due process as advised by the Senate President, Buhari was said to have signed a presidential proclamation proscribing the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) over the group’s involvement in terrorist activities.
The Office of the Attorney General of the Fedration disclosed this to newsmen yesterday, also stating that the president signed the declaration on Sunday before his departure for the 72nd United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York, where he will be expected to address other world leaders today.
With the signing of the proclamation by Buhari, a source in the attorney general’s office explained that the presidency had effectively initiated the formal process of proscribing IPOB in accordance with the provisions of the Terrorism (Prevention) Act, 2011.
It also paved the way for the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), Mr. Abubakar Malami (SAN) to head to court to give legal backing to the presidential proclamation.
Section 2 (1) of the Terrorism Act states that “where two or more persons associate for the purpose of, or where an organisation engages in: (a) participating or collaborating in an act of terrorism; (b) promoting, encouraging or exhorting others to commit an act of terrorism; or (c) setting up or pursuing acts of terrorism, the judge in chambers may on an application made by the Attorney General, National Security Adviser or Inspector General of Police on the approval of the President, declare any entity to be a proscribed organisation and the notice should be published in the official gazette”.
Sub-section 2 goes further to state: “An order made under sub-section (1) of this section shall be published in the official gazette, in two national newspapers and at such other places as the judge in chambers may determine.”
The sources further added that Buhari was keen on signing the declaration before his departure for New York in order to have the right response in the event that the question over the declaration by the army was posed by other world leaders who have been watching events unfold in Nigeria.
“The issue was extensively debated between Buhari, the AGF and other aides before he left for the UN General Assembly and the president decided to sign the declaration before leaving for New York, so he could say that due process was being followed if the question was raised by world leaders at the UN,” the sources explained