Friday, 22 September 2017

IPOB ban: CLOs, others call for Buhari, Obiano, Ikpeazu impeachment

Proscription of IPOB: Obiano, Ikpeazu should be impeached—rights groups

By Okechukwu Onuegbu
 Related image

Some rights groups in the country have accused the Southeast Governors forum of complexity for proscribing and naming the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) a terrorist group by the military, and called on their respective Houses of Assembly members to start impeaching them (the governors).

The groups which include Campaign for Democracy (CD), Civil Liberties Organisation (CLO), Igbo Civil Society Coalition (ICSCO) and Intersociety were concerned that a non violent group like IPOB could be proscribed while numerous others existing in the country were not receiving attack from either the federal or state governors of the zones domicile.

According to them, Governors Willie Obiano of Anambra State and Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia state influenced the decision of the Southeast Governors Forum as a result of the November 18 gubernatorial election in Anambra where Obiano is running for a second term and poor standard of living in Aba and other parts of Abia state.

Orient Daily recalled that the South East Governors had in an emergency meeting in Enugu attended by other Igbo stakeholders and the GOC 82 Division of the Nigeria Army proscribed IPOB and urged the people of the zone to shun the group as anyone caught mingling with them would be charged as a terrorist.

Reacting through its National Publicity Secretary, Campaign for Democracy, Dede Uzor A. Uzor, while stressing that the government position was unacceptable and violations of international laws and jurisprudence with impunity against the UN Charter and other extent laws, wondered why the nation could not submit itself to laws it was signatory to.

Uzor said that the CD after its emergency meeting at Enugu State unanimously described the IPOB proscription as despotic in all ramifications and Nigeria have proved to the world that she lacked the necessary diplomatic prowess to handle domestic and internal security challenges confronting her by using brutal force against its fellow citizens, killing over hundreds of them.

“Nigeria has no locus standi to proscribe an organization she did not register on the first instance. The killing of unarmed and defenceless Nigeria civilians by the Army amounts to crime against human and we call for investigation by ICC hence PMB had during one of his oversea travel thrown support to secessionist ‘West African State of SOUTHERN SAHARA’ who are seeking independent from Morocco.

“The IPOB has constitutional right to seek for self rule since Nigeria got her independence through self rule and agitation from British government. The UN Charter encourages Indigenous people in any part of the world who wish to go on their separate ways or seek independent in line with UN Charter and other International laws to conduct its activities peacefully without taken up arms within the International frame work via conduct of referendum that will be supervised by International community.
“The positions of South East governors and Ohaneze Ndigbo that IPOB should not conduct their activities or operate in their respective states amounts to human rights violations in line with chapter 4 in subsection 33 to 41 of 1999 constitution as amended. We call on the respective houses of the State Assemblies to commence the process of impeaching their governors without further delay for gross misconduct and abuse of office. The United Nations (UN), United States of America (USA) and other world leaders should set up special investigation team to probe the President Muhammadu Buhari administration over its atrocious and human rights violations” Uzor added.

Similarly, the CLO in a release jointly signed by its South East Zonal Chairman, Comrade Aloysius Attah and Zonal Treasurer, Comrade Pedro Azuogu said that the pronouncement was laughable and ridiculous, adding that the Nigerian military and by extension, Buhari led administration has by the act, ridiculed the country among the comity of nations globally.
“The activities of the Indigenous People of Biafra are covered by the provisions of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of the Indigenous Peoples to Self Determinations and Articles V, VI, VII and X11 of the African Charter of on Human and People’s Rights ratified and domesticated by Nigeria in 1983.

“The CLO is worried over the behavior of our Governors who act most times as if they are second class and inferior among their fellow governors from other zones and members of the Federal Executive Council thereby making them unable to be men enough to ‘fight’ for the interest of their people. While Fulani herdsmen unleashed series of violence and killings in the zone, the Governors of the South East despite repeated calls to that effect by the CLO could not sponsor Executive Bills to their Houses of Assembly criminalizing open grazing, yet, they are now quick to proscribe IPOB activities,” it added.

Similarly, ICSCO in a communiqué issued at the end of its meeting in Enugu and jointly singed by Prof. Obasi Igwe as National Coordinator and Mazi Ikechukwu Oji as Convener, said that declaration of IPOB as a terrorist organisation was meant to shield those committing genocide and ethnic cleansing against Ndigbo from prosecution at the International Criminal Court (ICC) and to divert attention from the bad governance and attempts to truncate the democratic process in Nigeria. 

The coalition further chided the Southeast Governors forum, describing their action as infringement on human right, and amounts to creating of unilateral state of war in Igbo land, intimidation, gad and silence of the Igbo nation from self expression in Nigeria.

“Terrorism is a premeditated armed attack on non belligerent targets and neither Nnamdi Kanu led IPOB or any other Pro-Biafran group has done this or procured arms to do so. contrarily, it is the Fulani herdsmen, who have been a bloody war against farmers and communities that should be appropriately labeled so and tackled decisively since they are ranked 4th on the global terror index (GTI).

“We noted that most of the Commanders currently executing the Operation Python Dance II are from a single tribe/ethnic group and have been accused of committing acts of torture, murder and genocide in Aba, Umuahia and other parts of Igbo land and are using it to pursue their ethnic, religious and sectional objectives,” it said.

ICSCO, while wondering why the federal government and states governments failed to allow Kanu’s court case to end before delving into the matter, called on National Assembly and International community to wade into “Unprovoked and unwarranted genocide and ethnic cleansing being level against the Igbo” so as to bring calmness to the zone.

On its part, Southeast Based Coalition of Human Rights Organisation (SBCHROs) described it as a case of self demystification, adding that it has exposed the southeast governors as “effeminate or womanish, unmanly or foppish public office holders whose governance short-sightedness, gross mis-governance, mercantilism, personality stains and oligarchic appendage/puppetry are responsible for the present state of militarization, conquest and general state actor underdevelopment in Southeast Zone.”

The SBCHRO members include Emeka Umeagbalasi of International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law (Intersociety), Comrade Aloysius Attah, Southeast Chairman, Civil Liberties Organization (CLO); Comrade Peter Onyegiri of Centre for Human Rights & Peace Advocacy (CHRPA); Comrade Samuel Njoku of Human Rights Organization of Nigeria (HRON), Engineer Rufus Duru of Global Rights & Development International (GRDI); and Comrade Chike Umeh, Society Advocacy Watch Project (SWAP).

Others were Comrade Obianuju Joy Igboeli, Anambra Human Rights Forum (ANHRF); Comrade Alex Olisa, Southeast Good Governance Forum (SEGGF); Jerry Chukwuokoro, for International Solidarity for Peace & Human Rights Initiative (ISPHRI); Mr. Tochukwu Ezeoke for Igbo Ekunie Initiative (Pan Igbo Rights Advocacy Group);  Comrade Vincent Ezekwume, Anambra state Chairman of Civil Liberties Organization (CLO); Comrade Nelson Nnana Nwafor of Foundation for Environmental Rights, Advocacy & Development (FENRAD-Nigeria); Comrade Ozor Ugonna Kingsley, Rural Engagement & Development Foundation (RED-Foundation); Comrade Orji Andy Ndukwe, Society for Economic Rights & Social Justice (SERSJ); and Comrade Nwokocha Anozie Innocent, Initiative For Ideal Development & Emancipatory Leadership in Nigeria (IDEAL-Nigeria).

“The governors are joining hands with grossly lopsided or composed Federal Government and its killer coercive agencies in threatening and undermining the sacred rights of the Igbo Nation and its people to live and exist as peaceful people; develop and freely showcase their ethnic identities and right to freedom of worship; and recreate and manage their destiny; is the height of unforgivable and punishable misdeeds against their own people.

“It has further exposed chronic racial/tribal hatred against the Igbo Race; by those hiding under the cover of the Nigerian Armed Forces. The above distress message has further thrown open the real motives behind the genocidal operations. Why we do not wish to dissipate our advocacy energy delving into the Nigerian military’s latest hate speech and criminal labeling.”

Circumstantially, manually, numerically, mentally and materially speaking and put together; can an internationally registered not-for-profit organization-IPOB (registered in UK in 2006 under its Companies Act with certificate no 9141882) and recognized by the UN’s ECOSOC as a non armed resistance body campaigning for indigenous rights of its own race be militarily labeled a “militant terrorist group, ” the group added.

On allegation that IPOB formed Biafra Secret Service was a terrorist group, the coalition explained that it was an unarmed/paramilitary and bare-handed group like Man O’ War, Boys Scout, Boys Brigade, Catholic Mobile Security, Red Cross’s Khaki Personnel for Emergency/Humanitarian Services; traffic personnel, etc. 

“Gov Obiano and his Government of Anambra State are in most cases, if not at all times, tactless and short-sighted for having seceded Old Oba Airport site to the military for the exercise rather than advising them to use Onitsha military cantonment. He has wittingly or unwittingly created another killing field in Anambra State.

“A welfarist, security conscious and people oriented Governor/Government; especially that running for a second term ought to be extremely careful and trade with caution especially in matters of collective and individual security of his own people and the State as a whole. Governor Okezie Ikpeazu tactless and ill-timed “curfew” imposed in Abia State on 12th September 2017” increased the level of killings, maiming, torture and property destructions perpetrated by soldiers” it noted.

Also reacting, the All Progressives Congress (APC), Anambra State chapter, described the action as an illegal not preceded by any due process, noting that although it was aware that a faction of the group have gone astray; castigating and abusing those whose support they should ordinarily seek, there was urged need for follow the provisions of law in handling the issue.

Speaking through his Anambra State Publicity Secretary, Arch. Okelo Madukaife, said “We have seen young men and women for that matter, claiming to be IPOB members harassing others and compelling them to sing the same songs with them. We have seen those who claim to be IPOB members disrupt campaigns of political parties in Anambra State and threaten leaders of different political persuasions, and heard them claim without lawful authority that elections will not take place in Anambra State on November 18, 2017.

“We have earlier condemned this stance, and called for action on the part off security agencies. Yet, we are equally mindful that all these observations above have come from a breakaway faction of IPOB, whose bad news has spread faster, while the real IPOB; civil and persuasive in their approach has condemned the idea of interfering with elections and perpetrating violence.

“So the authorities concerned ought to have been more circumspect in this regard. Therefore nothing contained in this statement endorses the weird ways of the violent faction of IPOB. However, inspired by the wordings in our code of ethics of APC pertaining the rule of law, we hold that the illegalities of that action of IPOB should be addressed legally,” the image maker hinted.

The APC publicity Secretary further asked electorate to avoid electing the said Southeast governors for any position to serve as deterrent to future leaders in the zone to remain at alert, courageous, thorough and farsighted.

Meanwhile, the Director, Media and Publicity Secretary of IPOB, Emma Powerful described the action as contempt of court and called for prosecution of Major-General John Enenche for contempt of court and usurping the roles and responsibilities of the Judiciary.

“This declaration is not only judicially provocative and belligerent, the Idoma-born army officer acted beyond the mandate of the Nigerian Army as specified in Sections 10 & 11 of CAP A20 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria (L.F.N.) 2004 and in Section-217(2) of the Nigerian fraudulent constitution.

“Recall that on March 1, 2017, the Honourable Justice Binta Murtala-Nyako of the Federal High Court Abuja declared in her ruling that IPOB is not an unlawful society/organization. Justice Binta Murtala-Nyako gave her judgment having studied the conditions for an organization to be deemed unlawful as stipulated in Section-62 of CAP C38 L.F.N. 2004. Up till this day, that ruling from Justice Binta Murtala-Nyako has not been upturned by any court,” it harped.

Earlier, the Customary Government of Indigenous People of Biafra (CG-IPOB) blamed the federal government of Nigeria for not informing the general public that the matter between Biafra and Nigeria is in court and will soon be resolved.

CG-IPOB through its Director, Directorate of Information, Ndubuisi Anaenugwu disclosed that “IPOB is not an organisation but a people pursuing their rights for self determination under the guidance of Biafran Elders. Anybody trying to classify it as militant or terrorist organisation should do further research on the people behind the quest for Biafra restoration.

“The Directorate of Defence Information should be reminded that there are Indigenous people of Biafra (IPOB) in court with the Nigeria Government in suit number FHC/OW/CS/192/2013. The entity known as Indigenous People of Biafra is defined as the remnants of the Biafrans and their descendants who were not consumed in the war. The acronym, IPOB, was created by Dr Dozie Ikedife in 2013.

“Indigenous People of Biafra are a nation. They are a nation but not yet a nation-state, seeking to exercise their right to self-determination by due process of law. We have always maintained that we are Biafrans by indigenous identity but Nigerians by citizenship just as the people of Scotland are Scottish by indigenous identity but British citizens and now seeking for independence from Britain. The acronym IPOB should be treated with every respect it deserves and efforts should be made by all stakeholders for the interest of peace to go back to round table.

“CG-IPOB sees the current drama as a conspiracy by those in political power against the masses .Those in power know that there are legal and political windows to resolve the Biafra issue but would continue to pretend that the forced marriage called Nigeria is indivisible. This is rather most unfortunate especially in a period when even the Arewa Youths have written UN to organise referendum for the Biafra people and when YOLICOM is asking for Oduduwa Republic.Our current demand for self determination through the due process of both local and international laws started from 2012-seven years ago!”



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