IPOB ban: Law professor clashes with Obiano
The issue of Biafra on Monday dominated the discourse during the 2017/2018 legal year of the Anambra State judiciary.
While the Anambra State Governor, Willie Obiano, through his Commissioner for Justice and Attorney General of the State, Anali Chude, described the Indigenous People of Biafra as enemies of the state for calling for a boycott of the November 18 poll in the state, Prof. Ilochi Okafor (SAN), said the secessionist group had the right in law for agitation.
Obiano urged the people of the state to go out en masse on November 18 to exercise their franchise without fear of any molestation.
He said, “Enemies of the state wanted to take the advantage to plunge Anambra State into chaos by directing that elections will not hold in Anambra State.
“It is the stand of the state government that elections must hold in Anambra State. We shall stand up to the occasion and refuse to allow people who do not wish Anambra State well to drag us into a situation whereby we will be turned into guinea pigs in the Nigerian polity.”
But addressing the audience, Okafor said demonstration towards the realisation of the right of self-determination was recognised as fundamental rights in international law and the United Nations Charter.
He said the military had no role to play in quelling civilian demonstration when the police had not failed.
Okafor said the Igbo had faced and lived down pogroms and threats of extermination for 100 years in the country.
He added, “There is nothing like military democracy. It is democracy pure and simple; where the rule of law is practised, where the security and welfare of citizens are paramount, without discrimination of tribe, religion, sex and ethnic origin.
“Armies do not arrest civilians. Police do. Armies are not used against a peaceful people, or demonstration. Armies intervene where it is beyond the police, against insurrection, terrorism, and external aggression.
“The Igbo are a peaceful people. Demonstrations towards realisation of the right to self-determination are recognised as fundamental rights in International Law and United Nations Charter. Nigeria is bound by such law.
“Our people were issued with quit notice to leave the North or face very dire consequences. No person has been arrested. The Army has not been stationed in the North. October 1 is the deadline and it is around the comer. Who protects our people presently in the North; who has protected us from Fulani herdsmen?”Punch