Association of Igbo lawyers has approached the Federal High Court in Abuja with an application to be joined as a party in a suit some Northern elders filed for exit of the South East region from Nigeria.
The Plaintiffs, Nastura Ashir Shariff, Balarabe Rufa’I, Abdul-Aziz Sulaiman and Aminu Adam, had in their suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/538/2021, maintained that the National Assembly is constitutionally empowered to set in motion a framework for a referendum to allow the South-Eastern region of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to decide on their bid for self-determination.
They claimed that their action was based on the need to end violence and destruction allegedly occasioned by the agitation for secession, championed by the Nnamdi Kanu-led Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB.
“Even before the emergence of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), there was a group at the south-eastern part of Nigeria known as the Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) under the leadership of one, Chief Ralph Uwazuruike.
“The main objective of the group mentioned in the immediately preceding paragraph is also the creation of the Independent State of Biafra, away from the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“Long before the emergence of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and the Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB), there was a move by the people of the south-eastern part of Nigeria formerly Eastern Region led by the late Col. Odumegwu Ojukwu to secede from the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
However, the Igbo lawyers, led by a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN, Chief Chuks Muoma, Ukpai Ukairo, Ebere Uzoatu and Hon Obi Emuka, prayed the court to join them as Defendants in the suit to enable them to represent the people of the southeastern region.
In the application they filed through Victor Onweremadu, the Applicants, argued that the suit has the capability to shape the life of the generation of Igbo people.
In a 12-paragraph affidavit in support of their application deposed to by one Ekenna Felix Jonathan, the Igbo lawyers averred: “That this suit is so crucial and a sensitive matter which concerns the Indigenous Igbo speaking tribe in Nigeria and has the capability to shape the life of the future generation of the people of the south-east of Nigeria and other Indigenous Igbo speaking tribe in Nigeria.
“That the Igbo Lawyers Association represented by the applicants are an Indigenous association of lawyers from the south east of Nigeria and other Indigenous Igbo speaking tribe in Nigeria.
“That the Igbo Lawyers Association and its objective is to represent the interest of the Igbo people which said people are Indigenous in the south east of Nigeria. Thus, the association is interested and is a necessary party to be joined.
“That It will serve the interest of justice if the Honourable court grants the application and join the applicants as defendants in the suit and that the plaintiffs will not be prejudiced if the application is granted”.
Meanwhile, Justice Inyang Ekwo has set down November 1 to hear the suit.