The Federal Government and Southeast Governors’ Forum have been told by a High Court in Enugu State to apologise to the detained leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu.
Ejimakor, in a statement on Thursday, said the court explained that self-determination is not a crime and thus cannot be used as a basis to arrest, detain and prosecute Kanu.
He said the suit was filed against the “Southeast Governors’ Forum and the FG (Respondents) for their collective executive actions (in 2017) that led to the proscription of IPOB and declaring it a terrorist group in contravention of Section 42 of the Constitution which prohibits discrimination on the basis of ethnicity.”
The court also ordered the Respondents (Southeast Governors’ Forum and the Federal Government of Nigeria), jointly or severally, to issue an official letter(s) of apology to Kanu for infringing on his fundamental rights, and the letters should be published by three national dailies.
In addition, the court ordered the “Respondents to, jointly or severally, pay the sum of N8,000,000,000.00 (Eight Billion Naira) to the Applicant (Kanu), being monetary damages claimed by the Applicant against the Respondents jointly and severally for the physical, mental, emotional, psychological, property and other damages suffered by the Applicant as a result of the infringements of his fundamental rights by the Respondents.”
According to him, the High Court (coram Justice A.O. Onovo) granted the following reliefs: “Declared that the practical application of the Terrorism Prevention Act and the executive or administrative action of the Respondents (Southeast Governors Forum and the Federal Government) which directly led to the proscription of IPOB and its listing as a terrorist group, said IPOB being comprised of citizens of Nigeria of the Igbo and other Eastern Nigerian ethnic groups, professing the political opinion of self-determination and the consequent arrest, detention and prosecution of the Applicant (MAZI NNAMDI KANU) as a member/leader of said IPOB is illegal, unlawful, unconstitutional and amounts to infringement of the Applicant’s fundamental right not to be subjected to any disabilities or restrictions on the basis of his ethnicity as enshrined and guaranteed under Section 42 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) and his fundamental rights as enshrined under Articles 2,3,19 &20 of the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights (Enforcement and Ratification) Act.
“Declared that self-determination is not a crime and thus cannot be used as a basis to arrest, detain and prosecute the Applicant, MAZI NNAMDI KANU.
“Ordered the Respondents, jointly or severally, to issue official Letter(s) of Apology to the Applicant (MAZI NNAMDI KANU) for the infringement of his said fundamental rights; and publication of said Letter(s) of Apology in three (3) national dailies.”
Ejimakor, who said he led the team of other lawyers, including Barristers Patrick Agazie, Ifeanyi Nworgu, Mandela Umegborogu, Ozioma Eguzoribe, Edith Chidimma Eze and Obianuju Iloanya appreciated them all for their efforts in the suit.