President Buhari has reportedly signed a presidential proclamation proscribing the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) in Nigeria. According to Thisday, President Buhari signed the proclamation on Sunday, September 17th, shortly before he left for the 72nd UN General Assembly meeting.
President Buhari signed the proclamation two days after the Nigerian Army released a statement banning the activities of the group and declaring them a militant terrorist organization.
With the signing of the proclamation by Buhari, a source in the attorney general’s office explained that the presidency had effectively initiated the formal process of proscribing IPOB in accordance with the provisions of the Terrorism (Prevention) Act, 2011. It also paved the way for the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), Mr. Abubakar Malami (SAN) to head to court to give legal backing to the presidential proclamation.
Section 2 (1) of the Terrorism Act states that “where two or more persons associate for the purpose of, or where an organisation engages in: (a) participating or collaborating in an act of terrorism; (b) promoting, encouraging or exhorting others to commit an act of terrorism; or (c) setting up or pursuing acts of terrorism, the judge in chambers may on an application made by the Attorney General, National Security Adviser or Inspector General of Police on the approval of the President, declare any entity to be a proscribed organisation and the notice should be published in the official gazette”.
Sub-section 2 goes further to state: “An order made under sub-section (1) of this section shall be published in the official gazette, in two national newspapers and at such other places as the judge in chambers may determine.”
The source at the Attorney General’s office added that President Buhari was keen on signing the declaration before his departure for New York in order to have the right response in the event that the question over the declaration by the army was posed by other world leaders who have been watching events unfold in Nigeria.
“The issue was extensively debated between Buhari, the AGF and other aides before he left for the UN General Assembly and the president decided to sign the declaration before leaving for New York, so he could say that due process was being followed if the question was raised by other world leaders at the UN,” the sources said