- Powerful claimed the governor was under pressure to blackmail IPOB’ ahead of the December Supreme Court judgement of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu’s case
IPOB has strongly opposed Enugu State Governor Peter Mba’s labeling of the group as a ‘proscribed organization’.
During Mba’s recent visit to President Bola Tinubu at the Aso Rock Villa in Abuja, his reported description of IPOB was vehemently rejected by the pro-Biafra actualisation group.
Emma Powerful, Head of Media of IPOB, in a statement alleged that Gov Mba ‘addressed IPOB as a proscribed organization and accused us of being responsible for the infamous sit-at-home’.
Powerful, who claimed the governor ‘was under pressure to blackmail IPOB’ ahead of the December Supreme Court judgement of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu’s case, alleged that the Tinubu adminstration might be pressuring Mba ‘to accuse IPOB of being responsible for the infamous sit-at-home and insecurity in the Southeast’.
Powerful stated that, “If you (Mba) continue to use the IPOB name to buy favour from Tinubu’s administration, you are making a costly mistake. IPOB is not a pushover. Our silence, gentleness, quietness, and love for our people should not be mistaken for cowardice.
“You should be careful that you don’t stir the hornet’s nest for your government. We know that you talk too much, and if you don’t know how to speak to the press, you should find another person who does that for you or other means to communicate.”
IPOB, in the statement, called on Supreme Court justices ‘not to succumb to blackmail but to release Mazi Nnamdi Kanu whom the Court of Appeal has acquitted and warned that no court in Nigeria should try him’.
Powerful added, “Self-determination is not a crime. But kidnap and extraordinary rendition of a freedom fighter is against international laws and norms. Mazi Nnamdi Kanu and IPOB cannot capitulate because of blackmail. We have crossed the Rubicon. There will be no retreat, and there will be no surrender.”
Recall that an Enugu State High Court, presided over by Justice Anthony Onovo, had on Oct 26th this year ruled that the proscription of IPOB by the South-East Governors’ Forum and its later categorisation as a terrorist organization by the federal government amounted to administrative abuse, adding that IPOB is a self-determination group and recognized by the African Charter and United Nations as well as the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The court awarded damages against the government.
Kanu, through his Special Counsel, Aloy Ejimakor, had in January this year, approached the court to seek nullification of the proscription and terrorist tag on the group, based on the fact that it is a registered organisation with membership exercising their right of association.
He had sought de-listing of the organisation as a terrorist group in line with the provisions of the African Charter and the 1999 Constitution (as amended), as well as restraining the government from proceeding with criminal proceedings against Kanu.
The court declared that self-determination is not a crime and should not, therefore, be used as a basis to arrest, detain, and prosecute the IPOB leader.