Posted by News Express | 16 September 2017 | 1,828 times
The Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has said that the Nigerian Military has no powers to declare the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) a terrorist organisation, stressing that the military has increasingly become anti-democratic and assuming legislative powers.
HURIWA said sections 4 and 6 of the Constitution of Nigeria recognises the National Assembly as the body to exercise legislative and judicial powers of the Federation and therefore condemns the attempt by the Defence Headquarters to execute a power the Constitution does not confer on it. The group in a statement by its National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, and the National Media Affairs Director, Miss Zainab Yusuf, said the pronouncement on IPOB as a terrorist group is a charade and a plot to initiate violent crackdown on the members of this substantially unarmed and peaceful group.
The rights group said the military institution as a creation of the law must not be permitted to grow wings and become an omnibus vehicle that would ride roughshod on the democratic and constitutional rights of associations and groups to operate as strictly non-violent and peaceful bodies just as HURIWA said by the Constitutional provision only the Courts of competent jurisdictions or the legislative chambers of the Nigerian National Assembly under the relevant provisions of the Constitution has the law making bodies to so make pronouncements on which groups can be categorised as terrorist organisations.
HURIWA insisted that the attempt by Major General John Enenche of the Defence Headquarters to confer on his office the powers of judicial or legislative authorities by unilaterally declaring the Europe registered IPOB as a terrorist group is unconstitutional, illegal, arbitrary, null and void and of no consequence just as the rights group said the pronouncement is ominous and could spell doom for the continuous enjoyment of Constitutional freedoms should such a careless pronouncement of lawlessness and tyranny not be challenged and condemned.
“We reject this coup plot against the constitutional rights of citizens to join associations freely and to assemble peacefully. The illegal pronouncement of the Defence Headquarters that IPOB is a terrorist organisation shows that the Defence authority is working in tandem with the Arewa Youth coalition which had recently canvassed the declaration of IPOB as a terrorist group. The military must be stopped from attempting to imprison a huge number of Igbo youth only because they are seeking to enjoy their rights to self determination which is authorised by all international laws. This Defence Headquarters will one day pronounce any town union as terrorist organisation the moment the group opposes the government of the day. This dictatorship must be uprooted immediately and comprehensively defeated.
“We agree with a prominent Benin lawyer who affirmed that Section 2 of the Terrorism (prevention) Act, 2011 (as amended) Proscribed or terrorist organisation:
(c) Setting up or pursuing acts of terrorism, the Judge in Chambers may on an application made by Attorney General, National Security Adviser or Inspector General of police on the approval of the President ; declare any entity to be a proscribed organisation and the notice should be published in official gazette.”
“Please has the DHQ complied with the appropriate procedure in declaring IPOB a terrorist organisation? What is the legal and operational implication of this declaration?
“What is ‘acts of terrorism’ in the circumstances of this Law?
“Are herdsmen terrorists?” HURIWA queried.
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