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Setback for IPOB as court throws out suit seeking to mandate Igbo exit from Nigeria

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A Federal High Court in Abuja has struck out a suit instituted by a Coalition of Northern Groups seeking the exit of Igbos in the South East out of Nigeria.


Justice Inyang Edem Ekwo threw out the suit following the persistent absence of the plaintiffs in court to establish their case.

The suit was lodged by a group of elders and politicians from the North, led by Nastura Shariff, Balarabe Rufa’i, Abdul-Aziz Sulaiman and Aminu Adam.

When the matter came up, none of the plaintiffs was in court and they were not represented by lawyers.

Justice Ekwo, after going through the case file, discovered that the Northern groups have not been coming to court since 2022 till date and had no legal representation.

In a brief ruling, the Judge held that from all indications, the plaintiffs have abandoned their own suit.

Justice Ekwo therefore struck out the case for want of diligent prosecution.

The Northern group had filed the case asking the court to compel the Senate President and Speaker of the House of Representatives to hasten the exit of the southeastern region out of Nigeria.

They pleaded that this should be done before the conclusion of the amendment of Nigeria’s 1999 Constitution.

The secession request was contained in the suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/538/2021 instituted by the group of elders and politicians from the North.

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In the suit, they said allowing the Igbo to exit Nigeria would end violence and destruction in the South-East.

They also explained that this would stop the repeat of the 1967-1970 Civil War in Nigeria that led to wanton destruction of lives and property.

The groups also said this would put an end to the agitations by members of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, led by Nnamdi Kanu.

They prayed for, among others, a declaration that combined effect of the provisions of Section 4 of the Nigerian Constitution and Articles 1, 2, and 20 (1) of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act 2004, “is 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 also urged the court to order the second, third and fourth defendants (the Senate President, the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the National Assembly) “to provide a framework that will pave way for the self-determination of the south-eastern states so as to leave the geographical entity called Nigeria before any further step is taken to further amend the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”

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“The constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria can be further amended at any time after the question of self-determination must have been resolved by Nigerians,” the plaintiffs said.

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