As the agitation for a Biafra nation gains attention, a group of elders and politicians from Kano State has asked a Federal High Court in Abuja to compel the Senate President, Ahmed Lawan, and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, to hasten the exit of the southeast before concluding ongoing amendment to Nigeria’s constitution.
The recent request for a court order to compel the hastening of South East exit from Nigeria formed one of the three prayers sought in a suit marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/538/2021 instituted by Nastura Ashir Shariff, Balarabe Rufa’I, Abdul-Aziz Sulaiman and Aminu Adam.
In their suit, they averred in a supporting affidavit that their action was informed by the need to stem the tide of violence and destruction allegedly occasioned by the agitation for secession, championed by the Nnamdi Kanu-led Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) — a now-proscribed group founded in 2012.
The plaintiffs claimed that they do not want a repeat of the 1967 to 1970 civil war in Nigeria that cost the nation many innocent lives and properties worth billions of naira.
Listed as defendants in the suit are Abubakar Malami, the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF); Lawan; Gbajabiamila; and the National Assembly.
The plaintiffs prayed the court for the following reliefs:
*A declaration that, by the combined effect of the provisions of Section 4 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended), and Articles 1, 2, and 20(1) of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act 2004, the 4th defendant (the National Assembly) is empowered to set in motion a framework for a referendum to allow the South-eastern region of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to decide on their bid for self-determination.
*A declaration that in view of the provisions of Articles 1, 2, 4, 14 and 20(1) of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act 2004, the 2nd and 3rd defendants (the Senate President and House of Reps Speaker) have the power to call for a joint session of both Chambers of the 4th defendant to deliberate on the agitation for self-determination by the Southeastern states of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
*An order directing the 2nd, 3rd and 4th defendants to provide a framework that will pave the way for the self-determination of the South-eastern states so as to leave the geographical entity called Nigeria before any further step is taken to further amend the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
The first plaintiff in the suit, Shariff, stated in the supporting affidavit he deposed to that IPOB has been agitating for self-determination by way of creation of the Independent State of Bafra away from the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“The agitations of the IPOB have been going on for about a decade, despite their proscription by the Federal Government of Nigeria about three years ago.
“Even before the emergence of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), there was a group at the south-eastern part of Nigeria known as the Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) under the leadership of one, Chief Ralph Uwazuruike.
“The main objective of the group mentioned in the immediately preceding paragraph is also the creation of the Independent State of Biafra, away from the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“Long before the emergence of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and the Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB), there was a move by the people of the south-eastern part of Nigeria formerly Eastern Region led by the late Col. Odumegwu Ojukwu to secede from the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
The Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice John Tsoho, has assigned the case to Justice Inyang Eden Ekwo and has been fixed for November 1, 2021 for hearing.