By Onyekachi Ubani
The ruling by the Federal High Court , Abuja on Wednesday shows that some of us were right when we said that the Nigerian Military was wrong to have pronounced IPOB a terrorist organisation without following due process. It also showed that we were right when we told the South-east governors that they have no right under the law to proscribe IPOB. The proscription of any organisation as stipulated by law is through a judicial process.
My opinion is that that judicial process has been complied with; though belatedly. The government have already dubbed it a terrorist organisation; they have already proscribed it before now running to the court to give it a retroactive effect.
The issue now is if you say you have proscribed an organisation and that organisation is not registered in law, there is a problem. Our laws stipulate that only a juristic person can be sued. I believe IPOB is not registered under our laws. So there is a problem because the court has just proscribed an organisation that is not registered under our laws. If you take a look at the court order, it says IPOB, whereas there is no entity known as IPOB under our laws. This is clearly a complex situation.
Why the issue of proscribing any organisation is made a judicial process is such that any organisation that has been wrongly proscribed, can come back to the court, asking it to reverse the order because the information given to the court through an exparte motion is wrong. The court will then look at the argument and merit in deciding whether to reverse itself. I think what IPOB has to do now is to proceed to the court to challenge the order.
Even if assuming without conceding that IPOB was properly registered under our law, does it qualify to be labelled as a terrorist organisation based on our laws and argument advanced by the Attorney General. As it stand today, IPOB by way of the Federal High Court order remains a terrorist organisation but that order can be challenged and set aside.”
Onyekachi Ubani, the second vice president of the Nigerian Bar Association, NBA is reacting on the the proscription of IPOB by the Federal High Court Abuja.