A constitutional lawyer and human rights activist, Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN) has kicked against the declaration of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) as a militant terrorist organisation by the Defence Headquarters.
The military authorities on Friday declared IPOB a “militant terrorist organisation” in Nigeria.
The Defence Headquarters (DHQ) had, in a statement in Abuja that IPOB poses security challenge to the country by clandestinely and actively terrorising the general public.
But in his reaction, Chief Ozekhome said he do not believe the instances cited by the Defence Headquarters justify declaration of IPOB a terrorist organization.
The constitutional lawyer said the last time he checked, he, “can’t remember any of such organizations operating in the country being declared terrorist organizations.
“The herdsmen who go on rampage daily, maiming, raping, killing, those responsible for the Agatu massacre, Shiites massacre, Southern Kaduna program, indiscriminate killings, brazen quit notices givers across Nigeria, etc, have never been arrested, prosecuted, let alone being proscribed and stigmatized.as terrorist organizations.
“We must surely have and operate two sets of laws for two sets of peoples in Nigeria. A government should be seen to be fair to all component parts of Nigeria”, Chief Ozekhome said.
In his reaction, the Senior Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on Prosecution, Chief Okoi Obono-Obla said Section 19 (h) (i-iv) of the Terrorism (Prevention) (amendment) Act defines terrorism organization to mean any group of terrorist that, “commits, or attempts to commit terrorist acts by any means, directly or indirectly, unlawfully and wilfully, participates as an accomplice in terrorist acts, organizes or directs others to commit terrorist acts, or contributes to the commission of terrorist acts by a group of persons acting with a common purpose where the contribution is made intentionally and with the aim of furthering the terrorist act or with the knowledge of the intention of the group to commit a terrorist act’’.
He said the Section listed such acts of terrorism as the formation of a Biafra Secret Service, claimed formation of Biafra National Guard, unauthorised blocking of public access roads and extortion of money from innocent civilians at illegal road blocks.