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Thursday, 21 September 2017

Pedro (SAN), Ubani Reacts To Court Ruling, Asks IPOB To Challenge It In Court

Pedro (SAN), Ubani Reacts To Court Ruling, Asks IPOB To Challenge It In Court

Some senior lawyers have on Thursday reacted to the ruling of Justice Kafarati of the Federal High Court on its declaration that IPOB is a terrorist group.

The immediate past Solicitor General of Lagos State and Permanent Secretary Ministry of Justice, Mr. Lawal Pedro (SAN) was one of such lawyers who have commented on the said proscription of the Group. According to him:

“The decision and move by the AGF to employ the rule of law in dealing with the menace is proper and commendable instead of a mere fiat or proclamation by officials of government that the IPOB’s acts in the country amount to terrorism and proscribed the group”
However he observed that many things are wrong with the order and can easily be challenged so as to set it aside.

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He raised some important questions which bring the legality of the proscription to doubt. In his words:

“In the first place, is IPOB a juristic person to be sued and for the court to exercise jurisdiction upon?

Secondly, this looks like a final order or judgement granted on a motion Ex-parte. This cannot be right in law. A different procedure should have been used to achieve the desired result

Thirdly, the order or judgement is in breach of the fundamental right of the named Respondent (assuming it is a juristic person) to fair hearing. It is therefore unconstitutional null and void

Lastly, the main reliefs are for declaratory order or judgement which should not be granted vide a motion either on notice or ex-parte.”

Based on the questions raised he advised the AGF to review its strategy on the subject and may consider a proper and better legal team to advise and handle the matter which he sees as an important and sensitive case.

Speaking further he however said:

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“I must state that the order or judgement was granted by a court of competent jurisdiction, it is valid, subsisting and must continue to be obeyed by all persons and authorities in Nigeria until it is set aside. Any infraction of any part of the order by anybody should be visited with the full force of the law, ”

The Nigerian Bar Association Second Vice President Mr. Monday Ubani on the other hand said:

”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 organization 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 organization as stipulated by law is through a judicial process.”

He further said:

”The judicial process has been complied with; though belatedly. The government has already dubbed it a terrorist organization; 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 organization and that organization is not registered in law, there is a problem. Our laws stipulate that only a juristic person can be sued.

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I believe IPOB is not registered under our laws. So there is a problem because the court has just proscribed an organization 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.”

Mr Ubani also added that Why the issue of proscribing any organization is made a judicial process is such that any organization 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.

He therefore urge the IPOB to proceed to court to challenge the order.

“Even if assuming without conceding that IPOB was properly registered under our law, does it qualify to be labeled as a terrorist organization 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 organization but that order can be challenged and set aside,” Mr Ubani said.

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