Members of the indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) have appealed the decision of the Federal High Court in Abuja which allowed an ex-parte application proscribing the group in September, 2017.
In a motion dated April 23 and filed at the Abuja Division of the Appeal Court on Tuesday, the IPOB members asked the appellate court to stop the Nigerian military from the “harassment, intimidation, incessant arrest and detention of IPOB members.”
The Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Abdul Kafarati, allowed the ex-parte application declaring IPOB as a terror organisation on September 20, 2017, following an appeal filed by Nigeria’s Attorney-General, Abubakar Malami.
An ex-parte motion is a request by a party in an issue involving two parties for a decision of the court without hearing the views of the other party.
Mr. Malami’s application was sequel to an approval for the proscription of IPOB by President Muhammadu Buhari.
In the motion filed by IPOB’s lawyer, Ifeanyi Ejiofor, the group is asking the Court of Appeal to issue an order for parties to assume the position of things before the proscription and maintain the status quo, pending the determination of the fresh appeal.
Mr. Ejiofor reiterated earlier claims that IPOB is an organisation of peace-loving people whose freedom will not jeopardise the interest of the respondents.
IPOB is made up of a group of people from Nigeria’s south east region who have repeatedly demanded freedom to break away into an independent state of Biafra.
The leader of the group, Nnamdi Kanu, whose arrest generated increased demand for the state of Biafra, is facing trial for alleged acts of treason.
He was granted bail on health grounds in April, 2017, with a list of conditions described by Mr. Ejiofor who is also the lawyer representing Mr. Kanu, as stringent and unconstitutional.
Following his release, however, the agitation for Biafra heightened and resulted in a range of controversies that climaxed in the proscription of IPOB and an allegation by Mr. Ejiofor that the Nigerian army abducted Mr. Kanu in his country home at Abia State.