IPOB Members Aren’t Enemies Of State, Ban Illegal, Law Professor Tells Gov Obiano

Obiano

Governor Obiano

A former Vice-chancellor, Nnamdi Azikiwe University and Professor of law, Ilochi Okafor (SAN), has clashed with Anambra State Governor, Willie Obiano over his statement that members of the Indigenous People of Biafra are enemies of the state.

The dramatic disagreement took place at a discourse in Awka during the 2017/2018 legal year of the Anambra State judiciary on Monday.

Mr. Obiano had through his Commissioner for Justice and Attorney General of the State, Anali Chude, described the members of Indigenous People of Biafra as enemies of the state for calling for a boycott of the November 18 Anambra election.

However, Prof. Okafor vehemently disagreed, saying the secessionist group had the right in law to agitate.

Mr. Chude had siad, “Enemies of the state wanted to take the advantage to plunge Anambra State into chaos by directing that elections will not hold in Anambra State.

“It is the stand of the state government that elections must hold in Anambra State. We shall stand up to the occasion and refuse to allow people who do not wish Anambra State well to drag us into a situation whereby we will be turned into guinea pigs in the Nigerian polity.”

But addressing the audience later, Prof. Okafor said demonstration towards the realization of the right of self-determination is a recognized fundamental right in international law and under the United Nations Charter.

According to the learned legal luminary, the military had no role to play in quelling civilian demonstration when the police had not failed.

He emphasized that the Igbos had faced and lived down pogroms and threats of extermination for 100 years in the country.

Okafor added, “There is nothing like military democracy. It is democracy pure and simple; where the rule of law is practised, where the security and welfare of citizens are paramount, without discrimination of tribe, religion, sex and ethnic origin.

“Armies do not arrest civilians. Police do. Armies are not used against a peaceful people, or demonstration. Armies intervene where it is beyond the police, against insurrection, terrorism, and external aggression.

“The Igbo are a peaceful people. Demonstrations towards realisation of the right to self-determination are recognised as fundamental rights in International Law and United Nations Charter. Nigeria is bound by such law.

“Our people were issued with quit notice to leave the North or face very dire consequences. No person has been arrested. The Army has not been stationed in the North. October 1 is the deadline and it is around the comer. Who protects our people presently in the North; who has protected us from Fulani herdsmen?”

The former Vice-chancellor, condemned the proscription of the activities of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), describing the act as illegal.

He also questioned the justification of the army in subjecting the defenceless and unarmed youths to physical torture and denigrating their dignity.

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