Confusion is trailing the court order proscribing the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra.
The Acting Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice Abdu Kafarati, had on Wednesday granted the Federal Government’s request to proscribe IPOB through an exparte motion.
The Federal Government took that step after a barrage of criticisms trailed the hasty proscription of IPOB by South-East governors.The Defence Headquarters had also hastily classified IPOB as a ‘militant terrorist organisation.’
However, both declarations were found to be a violation of the terrorism law, which provides that only a court order can declare an organisation as a terrorist outfit.
The court, which was approached by the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, granted the order in the judge’s chambers.
However, government has since found out that the order is unenforceable as IPOB is not a registered or juristic organisation that can sue and be sued. This has thus put the government in a difficult position and as such delayed it from issuing a gazette.
The government is currently considering how to correct the embarrassing gaffe.
A lawyer, Jiti Ogunyemi, said on Facebook that since it is not yet a motion on notice, the government can approach the court with a fresh application correcting the defect in the previous one.
He said the governmemt can also correct the defect by adding the names of IPOB leader, Nnamdi Kanu, and other leaders of the group as the defendants on behalf of the unregistered group.
There is also the issue of the subsisting ruling of Justice Binta Murtala-Nyako of the Federal High Court, Abuja which declared that IPOB is not an unlawful society. The issue that arises is the fact that the fresh order was granted by a court of coordinate jurisdiction without the judge considering the existing ruling.
So far, the ruling has neither been vacated nor appealed against ay a higher court.
According to some lawyers, the proscription cannot stand, given these weighty issues.
It is not known how the government will handle these embarrassing gaffes.