The Presidency yesterday said that it has facts to show that proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) was registered in the State of California, United States of America.
That was just as it added that the European Union (EU) and the United States of America (US) lacked the power to decide for Nigeria which group it should label terrorist or not.
Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on Prosecution, Chief Okoi Obono-Obla, who stated this, added that by the virtue of such registration, IPOB under Section 53 of the Companies and Allied Matters Act, was prohibited from doing business in Nigeria.
He, however, called on the Attorney General of the Federation to initiate criminal prosecution under Section 54 of the Companies and Allied Matters Act against the promoters or members of the proscribed IPOB for illegally operating in Nigeria for the past two years.
His words: “Facts have emerged that the proscribed IPOB was registered in the State of California, United States of America.
“It goes without saying that by virtue of Section 53 of the Companies and Allied Matters Act, the group is prohibited from doing business in Nigeria.
“I, therefore, urge the Honourable Attorney General of the Federation to initiate criminal prosecution under Section 54 of the Companies and Allied Matters Act against the promoters or members of the proscribed IPOB for illegally operating in Nigeria for the past two years.”
Obla was responding to the submission of a Lagos lawyer, Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa, on the proscription of IPOB and the statement credited to the EU and US that they did not see IPOB as a terrorist group. The presidential aide noted that it was as clear as crystal that the lawyer never averted his mind to the provisions of the Terrorism (Prevention) Act, 2011 and that of the European Union. “I have previously said that the international community should not meddle in our internal affairs because doing that will amount to erosion of our sovereignty.”
The EU has no business absolutely and totally with our internal matters. So, if EU says it does not see IPOB as a terrorist group, it is of no moment as far as Nigeria is concerned. It is inconsequential! “We all know by the definition of a terrorist organisation within the meaning of the term as defined by the provisions of the Terrorism (Prevention) Act, IPOB is a terrorist organisation! “Also, it is by its advocacy and mode of operation a terrorist organisation.
It used to terrorise, harass or intimidate those who do not subscribe to its separatist ideology and ethnic bigotry before its proscription. So, it is a terrorist organisation. “This is also an organisation that was hounding and killing Nigerians in Rivers and Abia states before the military intervention.
This is a group that was burning police stations, killing police officers, throwing bombs at military convoys, threatening to make the country ungovernable, threatening to stop governorship election in Anambra State.
“Most importantly, a court of competent jurisdiction – Federal High Court as presided over by the Acting Chief Judge, Justice Abdul Kafarati, upon an application filed by the Honourable Attorney General of the Federation hinged on Section 2 (1) (a) & (b) of the Terrorism (Prevention) Act granted an order proscribing IPOB. So, whether EU or United States or any foreign country says anything or not about IPOB is immaterial, irrelevant and of no moment,” he stated.
Justice Kafarati of the Federal High Court, sitting in Abuja had, last Wednesday, granted the application of the Attorney General of the Federation on behalf of the Federal Government on an order declaring IPOB illegal and proscribing it as a terrorist organisation. Following the order, Adegboruwa stated that the order was faulty in law because IPOB is not a registered association in Nigeria and, therefore, cannot sue and be sued.
Reacting to Adegboruwa’s submission, Obla stated: “By virtue of the provisions of Section 2 (1) (a) (b) & (c) of the Terrorism (Prevention) Act (supra), the argument of Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa that the so-called IPOB cannot be proscribed because it is not registered in the Federal Republic of Nigeria is not tenable, irrelevant and inapplicable.
“Most important by the provisions of Section 62 of the Criminal Code, the proscribed IPOB is an unlawful society. “Section 62 (2) of the Criminal Code prohibits unlawful society such as IPOB which formation, aims, objectives and mission is advocacy for the levying of war against the Federal Republic of Nigeria,” he said.