Court Lifts IPOB Ban, Awards Kanu N8bn in Landmark Ruling
By Adeke Chukwuka
Justice A. O. Onovo of the Enugu State High Court, in a significant ruling, declared on Thursday that the proscription of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) by the South-East Governors’ Forum is illegal, unconstitutional, and null and void.
In 2017, The Punch reported that the South-East Governors Forum, under the leadership of former Governor David Umahi of Ebonyi State, banned IPOB activities. Following this decision, the Federal Government categorized IPOB as a terrorist organization merely three days later.
IPOB leader Nnamdi Kanu, represented by counsel Aloy Ejimakor, filed a court request to reverse IPOB’s proscription. Kanu argued that the ban was illegal, citing IPOB as an organization advocating self-determination for Nigerian citizens of Igbo and other eastern ethnic groups.
Nnamdi Kanu requested the court declare his arrest, detention, and prosecution as illegal, unconstitutional, and a violation of his fundamental rights. He argued that self-determination is not a crime and should not be used as a reason for arrest, detention, or prosecution.
Nnamdi Kanu urged the court to compel defendants to pay him N8bn for damages. Justice Onovo ruled in Kanu’s favor, declaring IPOB’s proscription unconstitutional and illegal. The defendants were ordered to pay Kanu N8bn in damages and issue a public apology through newspaper publications.
Kanu’s lawyer, Ejimakor, expressed gratitude after the judgment, stating that justice had finally prevailed since the case began in 2017. He highlighted the court’s role in restoring faith in the judiciary for the common man and credited the ruling with potentially saving thousands of lives.
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