Saraki condemns categorisation of Ipob as terrorist organisation calling it unconstitutional

SENATE president Bukola Saraki has declared that the recent categorisation of the Indigenous People of Biafra (Ipob) as a terrorist organisation and the banning of its activities by the South East Governors Forum is illegal and unconstitutional.


Last week, Nigeria's defence headquarters unilaterally decided to brand Ipob a terrorist organisation and very swiftly, the South East Governors Forum proceeded to declare all its activities illegal. Widely condemned as the hallmarks of a police state and tantamount to a military coup, both actions have been heavily criticised by human rights and community associations.


Adding his considerable weight to the objections, Senator Saraki said that due process was not followed as the National Assembly was not consulted before these declarations were made. He added that the moves were unconstitutional as they did not follow the letter of the law, so were not binding.


Senator Saraki said: "Our laws make clear provisions for taking such actions and without the due process being followed, such declaration cannot have effect. I am sure the president will do the needful by initiating the right process and this will go a long way in demonstrating to the world at large that we are a country that operate by laid down process under every circumstance.


"So, those who have been hammering on this point should maintain their cool. Following the clash between the military and members of Ipob, I hereby call for calm and restraint by all Nigerians so that we would all jointly find the right solution to the current problem rather than worsening the crisis."


He called on everyone in the southeast in particular, to maintain peace and tranquillity and go about their lawful business. According to the senate president, this crisis will not benefit anybody but would only expose innocent people to unwarranted danger.


“I also wish to state that the announcement of the proscription of the group known as Indigenous People of Biafra by governors of the southeast states and the categorisation of the group as a terrorist organisation by the Nigerian military are unconstitutional and does not follow due process. We must commend the military for their efforts in restoring peace to different parts of the country and sustaining the unity of the country.


"However, in the face of provocation, the military should allow themselves to be guided by their training which emphasises respect for human rights, even in war. Also, giving the nature of this particular situation, the military has every reason to be hesitant in the use of force," Senator Saraki added.


According to Senator Saraki, the National Assembly intends to embark on a fact-finding investigation aimed at determining what actually happened during the period of the military exercise in the southeast. He assured Nigerians that there will be no cover up as legislators intend to lay the facts bare.