Fate Of IPOB To Be Decided Today

The Federal High Court sitting in Abuja today will rule on the proscription of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB.

The Acting Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice Abdul Abdu-Kafarati, will deliver the judgment in the suit seeking to void the proscription and declaration of IPOB, as a terrorist organisation.

The Pro-Biafra group had through its lawyer, Ifeanyi Ejiofor, approached the court challenging the ruling it delivered on September 20, 2017, which outlawed it on the strength of an ex-parte motion the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN, filed on behalf of the government.

The court had declared as illegal, all activities of IPOB, particularly in the South-East and South-South regions of the country in the said ruling.

The Acting Chief Justice, who gave the ruling in chambers, further restrained “any person or group of persons from participating in any of the group’s activities.”

The judge further directed the AGF to ensure that he published the order proscribing IPOB in the official gazette, as well as in two national dailies, an order FG had since complied with.

 

Gowon Gives Candid Advice To Nnamdi Kanu

Gen. Yakubu Gowon (retd.), A former Head of State, has advised the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, to seek dialogue with the Federal Government rather than agitate to address issues affecting the South-East. He advised the IPOB leader not to seek disintegration as it could lead to loss of lives.

Gowon stated this on Friday while presenting his paper titled, “Unity in diversity: Responding to the current challenges of nation-building in Nigeria,” at the 2017 Distinguished Annual Lecture of the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies, Jos, Plateau State.

He said, “My young friend, Nnamdi Kanu, was not born during the civil war, which was declared ‘no victor, no vanquished.’ It is sad to recall what happened at that time; the best way to seek redress is through dialogue.

“Kanu should pursue a healthy conversation on issues he is not comfortable with as it affects his people; this is the only way we can collaborate effectively and have things resolved amicably.”

Speaking further at the event, Gowon said that the activities of Fulani herdsmen had posed a threat to nation-building. The elder statesman asked the Federal Government to address the issue, which he said had become a nightmare for the country.

He said, “Today, the activities of nomadic herdsmen and cattle rustlers pose a serious challenge to the process of state-building.

“The activities of these groups have also polarised communities along ethnic and religious fault lines, which have had a serious impact on state-building.” Gowon said one of the solutions to dealing with the problem of herdsmen attacks was to find those supplying them arms as the Fulani in the past were not known for carrying arms.

Insisting that the creation of Nigeria was for a purpose, Gowon said, “There is nowhere else other than Nigeria that God assembled the highest concentration of black people around the world in one country.

IPOB Is “Dead and Gone” – Lai Mohammed

Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed has stated that the successful conduct of the governorship election in Anambra state last Saturday shows that the Nnamdi Kanu-led Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, is dead and gone.

According to the Information Minister, the turnout of voters during the polls has diminished the IPOB.

Lai Mohammed said this while addressing reporters in Abuja, the nation’s capital on Wednesday, against reported call by the pro-Biafra group for indigenes to stay away on the election day.

His words, “I think what that proved really is that IPOB does not represent the good people of Anambra or any state in the South East.

He said the IPOB propaganda about the election really showed that they are not on ground.

“The people of Anambra have shown that there is no alternative to democracy and that they believe in one Nigeria and federal system of government. If there are issues to be resolved, let us resolve it. But terrorism and separatism is not the answer.

“I think the Anambra election has sounded the death knell on IPOB because they said election will never hold. The election has come and gone, the turnout was quite reasonable.

“Every party competed very competitively and at the end of the day, the people of Anambra have decided who is going to be their governor.”

Judge’s Absence Stalls Kanu’s Trial

Trial of the leader of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, at an Abuja Federal High Court has been adjourned till December 5, 2017.

 

The IPOB leader is standing trial before the Justice Binta Nyako-led court for charges bordering on treasonable felony leveled against him by the Federal Government.

 

The matter was adjourned due to the absence of ‎ Justice Nyako, who is said to be attending the “All Judges Conference” being held at the National Judicial Institute, Abuja.

Kanu was noticeably absent from court for the second time, following his disappearance after soldiers allegedly invaded his residence in Abia State on September 14.

Despite Kanu’s absence, Senator Eyinnaya Abaribe, who is one of the IPOB’s sureties was however in court.

Court To Rule On IPOB’s Application Against Ban Jan. 2018

The Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has fixed January 17, 2018, to decide if it will set aside the order of proscription against Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) as a terrorist group.

IPOB had earlier asked the Federal High Court in Abuja to reverse its orders proscribing it and labelling it as a terrorist group.

In September 2017, IPOB made the request in a motion filed by its lawyer, Mr Ifeanyi Ejiofor, before the Acting Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice Abdu Kafarati.

The group made this application barely 48 hours after Justice Kafarati had granted an ex-parte application by the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, for the proscription of the group and its categorisation as a terrorist group.

IPOB had insisted that it is a non-violent movement, based its motion on 13 grounds one of which was that the court did not have the jurisdiction to proscribe the group as it is “an entity unknown to law.”

Police Intensify Efforts As IPOB Threatens President Buhari’s Visit

The Ebonyi State Police Command on Monday warned the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra and political parties’ supporters against disruptive acts during President Muhammadu Buhari’s visit to the state on Tuesday.

IPOB had early on Monday told President Buhari not to come to the South-East, which it referred to as ‘Biafraland,’ or else he would not leave the geopolitical zone alive.

However, the Ebonyi State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Titus Lamorde, who gave the warning in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Abakaliki, assured the people that the command was well equipped to deal with all forms of security challenges before, during and after the President’s visit.

According to Lamorde, any individual or group of persons that foment trouble before, during and after the visit would be severely dealt with, as people are advised to conduct themselves well.

“I will not disclose the number of personnel we have drafted for security reasons, but I assure citizens that enough personnel have been deployed across the state to ensure a hitch-free visit.

“The President’s visit is a welcome development as the citizens should cooperate with security agencies to make it a successful one,” he said.

He stated that his officers had been adequately trained to relate well with the citizens during the visit and advised people to conduct their activities within the confines of the law.

“We would not meddle in political issues as a security outfit, but the visit is development-oriented because of the numerous projects the President would inaugurate.

“My officers would not intimidate or harass individuals or groups as the duty of ensuring a hitch-free event is a collective one,” he said.

However, IPOB has vowed that Buhari will not go back alive if he decides to go ahead with his plans to visit the zone.

The President is billed to visit Ebonyi State on Tuesday (today) his first visit to the South-East since he assumed office in 2015.

IPOB said “blood will flow” if the President failed to heed the warning by going ahead with the trip.

The pro-Biafran group, which gave the warning in a statement by its spokesman, Emma Powerful, referred to Buhari as ‘Jubril of Sudan.’

In the statement, entitled, ‘Jubril of Sudan masquerading as Buhari must stay away from Biafraland or else blood will flow,’ IPOB claimed that an alleged impostor, one Jubril from Sudan, was actually the person parading himself as President Muhammadu Buhari, who it referred to as the “late dictator.”

The secessionists, in the same vein, said Buhari’s visit to the South-East would amount to an insult to the memory of all Biafran activists who died at the hands of federal troops since the President assumed power in 2015.

The group warned that the South-East Governors’ Forum and the leadership of the Ohanaeze Ndigbo were provoking violence and bloodshed by allegedly inviting Buhari to the zone.

“This is tantamount to an Israeli politician inviting Adolf Hitler to visit Jerusalem to mock the Jews he slaughtered in concentration camps during the holocaust,” the statement said.

Warning the President to stay away, the statement added, “It is with a heavy heart and grave sense of responsibility that we IPOB worldwide under the supreme command of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, announce to the world that those who are completely committed to provoking bloodshed in our land may have finally succeeded.

“The consequences of any fallout from the visit of the impostor Jubril to Ebonyi State will rest squarely on the head of Chief John Nnia Nwodo (President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo) governors Dave Umahi (Ebonyi), Rochas Okorocha (Imo) and the rest of the South-East governors.

“Bringing this version of ‘Buhari’ to insult the memory of those killed at Enugu, Nkpor, Igweocha, Aba, Onitsha and lastly Umuahia will not be tolerated by IPOB and every right thinking Biafran.

“Tuesday, 14th November, 2017  will be recorded in history as a very bloody day should that Jubril masquerading as Buhari attempt to land on Biafran soil.

“We have remained passive and peaceful but it appears that the Hausa/Fulani slave politicians in Igboland are hell-bent on provoking us to become violent.

“Whoever advised Ohanaeze Ndigbo and Igbo governors to embark on this suicide mission does not wish them well.”

IPOB also alleged that Buhari’s planned visit to Anambra State on November 15 was meant to finalise plans by the All Progressives Congress to rig the November 18 governorship election in the state.

Threatening the President with death, the pro-Biafran group said, “Our message is short and simple. Jubril a.k.a. Muhammadu Buhari will be exposed to the world as the impostor he is by making sure he never goes back alive.

“We will die with him should he set his foot on the sacred land of Biafra. He will not go back alive.”

The group further claimed that Buhari ordered soldiers to kill its leader, Nnamdi Kanu, whose whereabouts is unknown.

“He (Buhari) played a key role in all the theatres of genocidal mass slaughter of the Nigerian/Biafran War (1967-1970). He instructed soldiers to kill Nnamdi Kanu at his Afaraukwu, Abia State residence two months ago. We are yet to know our leader’s whereabouts or that of his parents.

“They (Hausa/Fulani) hate our people with a passion, they love killing us, so his coming is only to celebrate what he sees as the final defeat of our people. He will not go home alive.”

IPOB warned that those who invited Buhari to the South-East would pay dearly.

“All those who plotted this visit will pay dearly. When the time for vengeance comes there will be no forgiveness.

“We are going to perish together with this ‘Buhari’. It’s a promise,” the statement added.

Meanwhile, an election observer group, Youth Initiative for Advocacy Growth and Advancement, on Monday asked security agencies and other stakeholders in the Anambra State governorship election to address the “vote-and-die” threat issued by IPOB before Saturday’s governorship poll.

The Project Manager of YIAGA, Cynthia Mbamalu, stated this in Awka, the Anambra State capital, at a press conference to update newsmen about the group’s activities towards the poll.

Describing the threat as serious, the group said it could lead to voters’ apathy if their fears were not allayed.

It said YIAGA’s investigation showed that there was palpable fear among citizens, especially voters, about the threat.

It called on traditional rulers, president-general of town unions, the police, the Independent National Electoral Commission and other stakeholders to address the issue and allay the fears of voters before the poll.

 

Injustice In Appointments Responsible For Disunity- Sultan of Sokoto

The Sultan of Sokoto and the President General of the Supreme Council For Islamic Affairs, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar II, on Wednesday said the injustice in appointments and allocation of resources in the country were responsible for crisis and disunity in the country. The monarch said this at a Collaborative Interfaith Peace and Security Capacity Building Workshop, organized by the Nigerian Army Resource Centre, NARC, in collaboration with Inter-Religious Peace Initiative in Abuja.

 

 

He was represented by the Executive Secretary of Abuja National Mosque, Alhaji Ibrahim Jega, Abubakar who said an all inclusive governance remains the panacea in addressing the myriads of problems confronting the country. He urged leaders at all levels to be equitable, fair and just to every member of the society in the distribution of amenities and resources, irrespective of the political, religious and tribal inclinations of members of the society.

 

 

According to the monarch, “When it comes to issue of dispensation of justice and equitable distribution of resources, that should be done without fear or favour, affection or ill will.

 

 

“You are not there yourself as a leader and because you have some encounters with a group of people, either a person or a group of persons in a particular area, you should not hold on to it so as not to extend justice to them.

 

“Allah says “do not allow your hatred of a particular group of people to make you decide not to extend justice to them. Whatever happens, you must extend the spirit of justice to them all without fear or favour, affection or ill-will.

 

“This issue of justice goes down to whatever decision you are going to take, whether it’s against you or against your parents or against your own children or against your other relations, let alone saying you will not extend justice because you know somebody or because he is from your town. Justice must be based on fair and equitable distribution of assets to all.”

 

Police Arrest IPOB Members In Abia

Some persons suspected to be members of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, have been arrested by the Abia State Police Command.

The suspected IPOB members were arrested for being in possession of Biafra currency.

It was disclosed by the State Commissioner of Police, Mr Anthony Ogbizi, while addressing journalists over the weekend at the police mess in Umuahia, the state capital.

Ogbizi said the arrest was possible following high-level professionalism and redeployment of its men from the Command.

The commissioner of police has vowed that those arrested would be made to face the full wrath of the law.

He said, “These IPOB members were arrested with Biafra currency, so when we say that IPOB has gone beyond a particular stage, the public may seem to disbelieve us because of their propaganda.

“Gradually you are seeing it; these three IPOB members were caught with the Biafra currency”.

IPOB: FG Aware Of Nnamdi Kanu’s Whereabouts

The Indigenous People of Biafra on Sunday insisted that the Federal Government knows the hiding place of its leader, Nnamdi Kanu.

It was gathered that the  IPOB has asked the Federal Government to produce the IPOB leader without further delay in order not to provoke the group to go into armed conflict with it.

In a statement on Sunday, the group’s Media and Publicity Secretary, Emma Powerful, accused President Muhammadu Buhari and some leaders in the South East of a conspiracy of silence on the issue.

The statement reads: “We are asking Maj.-Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, Nnia Nwodo and South-East governors to produce Nnamdi Kanu because they or their representatives all participated in countless meetings in Abuja and Enugu where the modus operandi of the genocidal Operation Python Dance II was agreed and ratified.

“It was as a direct result of the military invasion of the home of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu and massacre of 28 innocent unarmed civilians with many missing that has led us to once again politely ask that our leader is presented to us dead or alive.

“It is becoming clear to everybody that Muhammadu Buhari, Nnia Nwodo and South East governors are desperately trying to draw IPOB into armed confrontation and militancy to justify their genocidal clampdown on innocent people of the South-East and South-South.”

Where Is Nnamdi Kanu?

It all started like a game of revolving doors. The Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) held one end of the stick. The other was held by the Nigerian Army.

Each tried to outmanoeuvre the other. The issue at stake was the invasion of the residence of the IPOB leader, Nnamdi Kanu, by the Nigerian Army. The sting operation saw many dead. But the army would not admit killing anybody. The drama that ensued was like the Russian roulette.

Each of the parties concerned strove hard to carry the day. Several weeks into the drama of wits, the game is still on. Neither party has been able to extricate itself from what is turning out to be a hydra-headed situation.
The sticky point of the entire scenario is the whereabouts of Nnamdi Kanu.

The young man has been missing since the military invasion of his residence. He has not been heard from or seen, and this has fueled a lot of speculations. IPOB was the first to raise the alarm.

It told the world that its leader, Kanu, was missing. IPOB said Kanu was in the custody of the military. It asked the Nigerian Army to produce him, dead or alive. But the army was not quick in its response. It allowed the IPOB narrative to take roots before it came up with a rebuttal. It said that Kanu was not in its custody.

Where then is Nnamdi Kanu? Members of his group say they do not know where he is. They are alleging that he may have been killed on the day of the military invasion. Some others are saying that he survived the attack on that fateful day but was arrested by the army outside Umuahia as he tried to escape the manhunt launched for his arrest. IPOB says it does not know what may have happened to him in the process.

It is still insisting that the military knows about Kanu’s whereabouts. It has asked the army to drop its pretentious posturing and produce Nnamdi Kanu, alive or dead.

Kanu’s lawyer, Ifeanyi Ejiofor, has equally raised a similar alarm. He is insisting that Kanu is in the custody of the army. So far, the response from the army remains feeble. Its denial of the charge is, at best lame. This has left many wondering what the true situation could be. The matter has remained in the realm of conjecture especially in the light of the fact that there is no official release on the number and identity of the casualties of the military operation.

But there is a way out. It should be noted that while announcing the ban on the activities of IPOB in the heat of the military invasion and killing of many IPOB members, the chairman of South East Governors Forum and governor of Ebonyi State, Dave Umahi, said that the forum would investigate the alleged killings and make its findings known.

Nothing has been heard from the forum since then. It probably has decided to sweep the matter under the carpet. But matters arising from the invasion have refused to go away. The most challenging and most urgent remains Kanu’s whereabouts. This is particularly so considering the fact that he is standing trial on charges bordering on a treasonable felony before Federal High Court in Abuja. Kanu was supposed to be in court two days ago in continuation of his trial. His conspicuous absence, as should be expected, threw up the nagging question again: where is Nnamdi Kanu? So far, no one has been able to answer this question to the satisfaction of anybody.

The matter, probably, would have remained at the level of claims and counterclaims for a long time to come but for the fate of those who stood as sureties for Kanu. The court has asked them to produce the IPOB leader so that his trial will resume in earnest. The sureties are in the eye of the storm. One of them, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, has said that he does not know the whereabouts of Kanu.

And the court is compelling him and the other sureties to produce Kanu. This is the crux of the matter. What then should the sureties do? That is the most urgent of questions. As we try to find an answer to the question, Abaribe and others concerned have asked the court to give them more time to produce Kanu. Everybody is waiting for the extra time. But as we wait, concrete steps must be taken to resolve the logjam.

To do so, we must return to the basics. What really happened on the day of the invasion? This is a question for South East Governors Forum. The forum banned the activities of IPOB after the ugly incident and promised to investigate the alleged killings. Someone needs to remind the forum that it has a job to do here. It has the responsibility to tell us the number of people that died as a result of the invasion. It should also tell us the identity of those affected.

If it undertakes this investigation diligently, it will be able to tell us what happened to Nnamdi Kanu. Was he among those that were felled by the bullets on the day his residence was invaded? If he was not, what happened to him thereafter? If he escaped, how did he do so and where, possibly, can he be now? The assignment is quite straightforward. It should be simple enough for these governors who are the chief security officers of their states.

If the south-east governors can get to the root of the matter as they ought to, and promised to do, Abaribe and the other sureties will have little or nothing to worry about. If they establish that Kanu is dead, then the sureties can go home and have a good sleep, leaving the Nigerian authorities and IPOB to sort out the rest.

If they establish that Kanu escaped, the onus will be on the government to work towards his extradition. That, again, will not be the responsibility of the sureties. We must, at this stage, take proper note of the fact that the situation has changed. When Abaribe and others signed the bail bond for Kanu, the situation was not what it is today. Kanu was a free citizen then. He is no longer one now.

He was not being hunted then. But the Nigerian authorities are after him now. All this, present us with a different scenario. They sureties are therefore not to blame if they are unable to produce Kanu. The matter has since gone beyond them and putting them under pressure will be sheer blackmail.

The point that we must appreciate in this drama is that government has the responsibility to produce Kanu if he is still alive. If Kanu is in hiding anywhere, it is because the authorities are after his life. Several months after his release from detention, Kanu freely walked the streets of Nigeria. But the army invasion and killings changed all that.

He may have disappeared from the public scene to save his life. He will not go into hiding if his safety is guaranteed. This should be an acceptable alibi for the sureties.

Meanwhile, the South-east governors led by Umahi should solve this puzzle. They should work closely with the Nigerian authorities with a view to establishing where Kanu is or what may have happened to him. They have the capacity to so. We are waiting for them to throw light on this puzzle.

Biafra: Court Orders Senator Abaribe, Others To Produce Nnamdi Kanu

The Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has ordered Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe and two other sureties to produce secessionist Nnamdi Kanu who has been on trial for alleged treason.

Justice Binta Nyako also summoned Abaribe to appear in court to explain the whereabouts of Kanu or in the alternative forfeit the bail bond of N100m.

Abaribe alongside Jewish High Chief Priest, Immanuu-El Shalom and a chartered accountant residing in Abuja, Tochukwu Uchendu signed for Kanu’s bond in the sum of N100m each.

The trial judge, on Tuesday gave the order when Mr Ifeanyi Ejiofor, counsel to Kanu told the court he could not decipher the whereabouts of his client.

Kanu, whose bail was perfected by the voluntary endorsement of the three sureties failed to appear in court to stand his trial.

Nyako said the sureties’ failure to produce Kanu would compel the court to invoke the forfeiture of their N100 million bail bond each.

“The trial of Kanu and his co-defendants was fixed for Oct.17, but reports from both the prosecuting and defendant’s counsel show that Kanu is absent.

“The sureties that helped to perfect his bail conditions are solely accountable for his presence for trial. These sureties are therefore, given time to produce him for trial.

“In the event that they are unable to produce him, the court shall go on to invoke the remaining options left to it,’’ she said.

Earlier, Mr Mohammed Labaran, the prosecuting counsel had moved an application praying the court to grant a bench warrant for Kanu’s arrest.

He said the defendant had flouted all the bail conditions spelt out for him by the court.

The counsel to Kanu, Ejiofor objected to such application, adding that he had filed a suit against the Chief of Army Staff on the where about of Kanu.

Ejiofor had claimed that the military’s invasion of his client’s home on July 11 led to his disappearance, adding that the military was in the best position to tell the where about of Kanu.

Similarly, Mr Ogechi Ogbonna, counsel to Abaribe moved a motion seeking court’s approval for the withdrawal of his client’s consent as Kanu’s surety.

Ogbonna said his client was not in a position to tell the where about of the defendant at the moment.

He further said Abaribe was no longer interested in offering his consent to serve as Kanu’s surety in view of recent happenings.

The judge, therefore, gave Ogbonna a list of options ranging from automatic forfeiture of his client’s N100 million bail bond to time within which to still search for Kanu.

Ogbonna, having aptly received the hint of the court, selected the latter option.

Chidiebere Onwudiwe, Benjamin Madubugwu and David Nwawuisi are standing trial on five-count charge of conspiracy to commit treasonable felony, treasonable felony and publication of defamatory materials along Kanu.

The court adjourned until November 20, 2017, a date given to the sureties to produce Kanu in court. (NAN)