Declaring IPOB a ‘terrorist organisation’ is unconstitutional

“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 are unconstitutional and does not follow due process,” Saraki

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Senate President Bukola Saraki on IPOB

– Senate President Saraki says its unconstitutional to label IPOB a terrorist organisation.

– Moves for a better resolution of all grievances in the South East.

– Calls on to act with restrain while performing their civil duty.

The national assembly will investigate the crisis in the South East and find the right solution to it.

“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 are unconstitutional and does not follow due process,” Saraki said.

“Our laws make clear provisions for taking such actions and without the due process being followed, such declaration cannot have effect. I am sure the President will do the needful by initiating the right process.”

The Senate President believes that “initiating the right process” will go a long way in demonstrating to the world at large that Nigeria “is a country that operates by laid down process under every circumstance”.

“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,” he said.

He however appealed to every Nigerian to remain law abiding in the face to division.

“Our brothers and sisters in the South-east, in particular, should continue to maintain peace and tranquility and go about their lawful business. This crisis will not benefit anybody but would only expose innocent people to unwarranted danger,”

The Nigerian military had declared IPOB a terrorist organisation on Friday,after five days of Operation Python Dance in Abia State to curb the activities of Indigenous People of Biafra quest for a sovereign nation of her own.

Reasons given by the military for the declaration of operation python dance include formation of Biafra National Guard, unauthorised blocking of public access roads; extortion of money from innocent civilians at illegal roadblocks, and militant possession and use of weapons, which from public gathering within the South East has been rebuffed.

IPOB denied the allegations shortly after the declaration, insisting that it is a non-violent movement.

“IPOB is a non-violent movement,” Mr Emmanuel Kanu, the younger brother of IPOB leader who spoke on behalf of the group said.

“We do not carry arms; we’ve never asked anyone to kill for us neither have we killed anyone. If you look at our records, our records are clean and straight.”

READ: South East Senator protest the killings and show of force by Nigeria military in the South East

The Senate President has strongly disagreed with the declaration by the military and the action by the South-East governors who proscribed the group in support of the military claims.

“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.”

Saraki also appealed to the military to show restrain and civility in the face of provocation.

He said, “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 emphasizes 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.”

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