Landmark Ruling: Enugu Court Lifts IPOB Ban, Awards Nnamdi Kanu N8 Billion
Enugu State High Court Declares Proscription of IPOB by South-East Governors’ Forum Unlawful
In a landmark ruling delivered on Thursday, Justice A. O. Onovo of the Enugu State High Court declared the proscription of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) by the South-East Governors’ Forum to be illegal, unconstitutional, and null and void.
The background of this case dates back to 2017 when the South-East Governors’ Forum, under the leadership of former Governor David Umahi of Ebonyi State, took the controversial step of proscribing IPOB activities. This action prompted the Federal Government to swiftly label IPOB as a terrorist organization just three days later.
Nnamdi Kanu, the prominent leader of IPOB, sought redress through the legal system. Represented by his counsel, Mr. Aloy Ejimakor, Kanu approached the court seeking the reversal of the proscription. Kanu argued that the proscription of IPOB was unjust, as it was an organization comprised of Nigerian citizens from the Igbo and other eastern Nigerian ethnic groups who were advocating for self-determination.
In his plea to the court, Kanu asked for a declaration that his arrest, detention, and subsequent prosecution were illegal, unlawful, unconstitutional, and infringed upon his fundamental rights. He also urged the court to acknowledge that the concept of self-determination was not a crime and should not be used as a basis for arrest, detention, and prosecution.
Furthermore, Kanu requested the court to compel the defendants to pay him N8 billion in damages for the physical, mental, emotional, and psychological trauma he had endured.
In a momentous judgment, Justice Onovo sided with Nnamdi Kanu, ruling that the proscription of IPOB was “unconstitutional and illegal.” Additionally, the court ordered the defendants to pay N8 billion in damages to Kanu and to issue a public apology through newspaper publications.
Following the ruling, Nnamdi Kanu’s lawyer, Mr. Aloy Ejimakor, expressed his gratitude, stating, “We are grateful that justice has prevailed in this matter since 2017. The court has reaffirmed the faith of the common man in the judiciary. You have saved thousands of lives.” This judgment marks a significant legal development in the ongoing debate surrounding IPOB’s activities and its quest for self-determination.