Senate President, Bukola Saraki has described as “unconstitutional”, the recent proscription of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) by South East governors in the region.
Saraki similarly flayed the Nigerian Military over its declaration of IPOB as a terrorist organisation.
In a statement he personally signed on Monday, the Senate President said due process was ignored in proscribing IPOB, as well as in the declaration of the separatist group as terrorists.
Saraki said, “I wish to state that the announcement of the proscription of the group known as Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) by governors of the south-east states and the categorisation of the group as a terrorist organisation by the Nigerian military is unconstitutional and did not follow due process.
“Our laws make clear provisions for taking such actions and without the due process being followed, such declaration cannot have effect.”
“Our brothers and sisters in the south-east, in particular, should continue to maintain peace and tranquillity and go about their lawful business. This crisis will not benefit anybody but would only expose innocent people to unwarranted danger,” it read.
“At this point, Nigerians outside the south-east who have worked to ensure that the crisis does not spread to other parts of the country deserve our commendation. I, therefore, call for continued efforts to sustain peace, unity and stability in all our communities so as to ensure that all residents, no matter their religion, tribe and creed remain protected and safe under the law.
“We must commend the military for their efforts in restoring peace to different parts of the country and sustaining the unity of the country.
“However, in the face of provocation, the military should allow themselves to be guided by their training which emphasises respect for human rights, even in war. Also, giving the nature of this particular situation, the military has every reason to be hesitant in the use of force.
“I want to also make it clear that the national assembly intends to embark on a fact-finding investigation aimed at determining what actually happened during the period of the military exercise in the south-east. We want to be able to sift the facts from the fiction and determine who did what. It is quite clear that all the facts are not yet known. We assure Nigerians that there will be no cover up. We intend to lay the facts bare.
“We want to remind Nigerians that the reason for embarking on constitution review by the national assembly was to enable us look into issues that are agitating the minds of Nigerians and creating tension among us. We have promised that the exercise would be continuous.
“We intend to keep that promise by further taking decisions that would strengthen and improve on our structures. The eighth national assembly, on resumption, will play its constitutional role by addressing all those issues that are agitating the minds of our people and over which they feel so strong,” the statement read.