Saturday, 16 September 2017

Military has no right to declare IPOB a terrorist organisation, human rights group says |Nnamdi Kanu petitions UN, U.S., others over harassment by Nigerian Army

The Nigerian Human Rights Community (NHRC) says the military does not have the power to declare the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) a terrorist organisation.

In a statement by Micheal Ajayi and Sanusi Suleiman, the group’s executive secretary, and Middlebelt coordinator, NHRC said the military should have made its findings and submitted to the National Assembly for consideration.

“The ban on IPOB is likely to force the group underground… it has foreclosed the prospect of negotiation which is an essential element of democracy and free speech,” the statement read.

“We are not in a military regime. It is wrong for the military that should be under civilian authority to determine which organisation is a terrorist or not.

“In a democracy, the military should have made its findings and submitted same to the National Assembly for deliberations.

“There is no basis to ban IPOB. The Nigerian constitution recognises the freedom of association.

“Though IPOB declares it is fighting for separation from a section of the country from Nigeria, the solution is constructive engagement and not outright banning of the group.

“Under the terrorism act 10 2011 passed by the Nigerian National Assembly, only a High Court Judge on the advice of the National Security Adviser, the Inspector-General of Police or the Attorney-General of the Federation can declare an organisation a terrorist group and such has to be published in a gazette making the proclamation of the governors and the Military to be illegal.”

The group urged the federal government to release IPOB members in detention or charge them to court.

“We have sent a petition to the United Nations, (UN) office in Geneva. We have already been invited in pursuant to the procedures and expectations of the UN Rapporteur on Human Rights. Nigeria and her component states should show respect to the dictates of universal standards,” it said.

Meanwhile, Nnamdi Kanu, has written a petition to the United Nations, the European Union and the Presidents of the United States, Russia and Israel over the invasion of the Southeast by soldiers.

  • In the petition dated September 14, signed by his lawyer, Ifeanyi Ejiofor, the IPOB leader alleged intimidation, torture, arrest, abduction and killing of the people of the region by soldiers.
  • “Unarmed civilians largely made up members of the Indigenous People of Biafra are now being tortured and murdered in cold blood on a daily basis.
  • “We have no doubt that the undisclosed reason for deploying troops in South-Eastern states by the President (Muhammadu) Buhari-led administration is to attack unarmed and defenseless members of the Indigenous People of Biafra who are merely exercising their constitutional guaranteed rights to self-determination.
  • “The modus operandi of the Operation Python Dance II presently adopted by the military deployed in the South-East offends all known rules of professional engagement even in a war zone.”

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