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Self Determination Suit: INC, Yoruba Group Seek To Join CNG’s Suit On Biafran Agitation

Self Determination Suit: INC, Yoruba Group Seek To Join CNG’s Suit On Biafran Agitation JANUARY 21 , 2022 | EASTERN PILOT Report By: Friday ...

Self Determination Suit: INC, Yoruba Group Seek To Join CNG’s Suit On Biafran Agitation


Report By: Friday Olokor and Daniels Igoni |

The demand for a referendum on the planned secession of Biafra from Nigeria gathered momentum on Thursday with the Yoruba and Efik ethnic nationalities filing an application to be part of the suit filed by the Coalition of Northern Groups. The CNG had in June 2021 dragged the National Assembly and the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN), to court to compel them to conduct a referendum to determine the fate of Biafra agitators.

The case was first adjourned till January 20, 2022, after Justice Inyang Ekwo could not sit due to official assignments. But the case could not be heard again on Thursday because the Judge was said to be indisposed. The counsel for the CNG, Safiyanu Idris, told journalists that the case had been adjourned again till March 14, 2022 because Justice Ekwo was absent. “Since the last adjournment, the matter was adjourned till today (Thursday) for the continuation of the motion as there are people, who have filed applications to join the suit.

“We came here for the applications, but it happened that the judge is also not sitting today. “But in between the time, there is a particular group, the Ijaw group, which has filed an application to be joined in the matter. Now, the matter is adjourned till March 14, 2022. The CNG had gone to court to seek a referendum to determine the fate of Biafra and other separatist groups in Nigeria. The spokesman for the CNG, Abdul-Azeez Suleiman, explained why the coalition filed the suit. He said, “What we are doing is to save the country, ourselves and the future of the country, because these people are becoming violent already. Most of the people engaged in this activity are below 50.

“So, if we allow our leaders to leave us with these people in this situation, there may be another bloodshed or civil war. That is what we want to avoid, which is why we came to court to interpret the situation. “One of the issues for determination in the substantive suit has to do with the legal obligation of the 2nd to 4th defendants/respondents to provide a framework that will pave the way for the self-determination of the South eastern states and any other enclave that wants to go so as to leave the geographical entity called Nigeria before any further step is taken to review the constitution.”

Speaking on the Yoruba Nation’s decision to join the suit, counsel for the group, Timilehin Odunwo, said, “We now deem it fit to join this suit on the grounds that not only the Igbo that are interested in leaving this contraption called Nigeria, the Yoruba Nation is also interested. “Therefore, any call for a referendum should cut across the board of all the tribes. Let every tribe have the right to determine whether to live in the country or to move out. “As you know, self determination is a very sacrosanct right of every citizen and tribe as it is recognised by the international community. “Therefore, it is incumbent on the National Assembly, if our application is granted, to let everybody decide whether to stay or leave. “You cannot force an unwilling tribe on a willing nation. It will not work.”

The lead counsel for the Old Calabar Province, which is made up of Akwa Ibom and Cross River states, Sunday Afiko, said, “We do not want to sit at home while they shave our hair in our absence. So, we came all the way from Uyo to be part of this matter. “But it is quite unfortunate that the court is not sitting. We hope that at the next adjourned date, which is March 14, that the court will sit; we will move our motion and be part of this case, which has to decide the fate of everybody. We are not opposing the application. “We are saying that it should not just be the Southeastern states that should leave; everybody should be given the opportunity to decide whether they want to be part of Nigeria or not.

“We want to also be given the opportunity to decide our fate. Let there be a national referendum for everybody to vote.” Similarly, the Ijaw Nation, under the auspices of the Ijaw National Congress, asked to be joined in the suit. The joinder application was filed on behalf the INC and its incorporated trustees by two legal practitioners, Dickson Sofiyegha and Temedie Peter-Great. Among those present in court were the National President of the INC, Prof Benjamin Okaba; the National Legal Adviser, Bomo Tom-Fetepigi; National Secretary, Ebipamowei Wodu; Chairman of the INC, Abuja chapter, Ebizimo Okolo, and other prominent Ijaw sons and daughters.

Okaba, in a statement after filing the application, said the legal action was in line with the resolutions of the Ijaw people at the All Ijaw Summit held on December 4, 2021 in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, to decisively pursue and defend their right to self-determination through peaceful, lawful and non-violent mechanisms.


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