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DHQ lacks authority to declare IPOB a Terrorist Organisation


The power to declare an entity a “proscribed organisation” under the Nigeria Terrorism Prevention Act belongs to the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria on the application of the NSA, HAGF or the IGP, and not to the DHQ.

Such action has to be gazetted with the approval of the President. 

So far only 2 groups have been so gazetted: Ansaru & Boko Haram.

For clarity, the Terrorism Prevention Act 2011, Section 2 is given below See below:

2. Proscribed Organisation.

(1). Where two or more persons associate for the purpose of or where an organization engages in—

(a) Participating or collaborating in an act of terrorism;

(b) promoting, encouraging or exhorting others to commit an act of terrorism; or

(c) setting up or pursuing acts of terrorism, the judge in Chambers may on an application made by the Attorney General, National Security Adviser or Inspector General of Police on the approval of the President; declare any entity to be a proscribed organization and the notice should be published in the official gazette.

(2) An order made under sub-section (1) of this section shall be published in the official gazette, in two National newspapers and at such other places as the judge in Chambers may determine.

(3) A publication made under sub-section (2) of this section shall contain such relevant particulars as the judge in Chambers may specify:

(i) a person who belongs or professes to belong to a proscribed organization commits an offence under this Act and shall on conviction be liable to imprisonment for a maximum term of 20 years;

(ii) for the avoidance of doubts, political parties should not be regarded as proscribed organizations and nobody should be treated as such because of his or her political beliefs.

(4) It is a defence for a person charged under sub-section (3) of this section to prove that the organization had not been declared a proscribed organization at the time the person charged became or began to profess to be a member of the organization and that he has not taken part in the activities of the organization at any time after it has been declared to be proscribed organization.

(5) The Attorney General upon the approval of the President may withdraw the order if satisfied that such proscribed organization has ceased to engage in an act of terrorism—

(a) the proscribed organization or person affected by the order made an application on notice; and

(b) he is satisfied that a proscribed organization has ceased to engage in the acts specified in sub-section (1) of this section and that there is no likelihood of the organization engaging in such acts in the future and shall be published in the official gazette.

This did not prevent John Enenche, the director, defence information, from on Friday saying that the claim by Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) that it is non-violent is not true “after due professional analysis and recent developments”.

He listed what constitutes “terrorism” as the formation of a Biafra secret service, setting up of Biafra national guard, unauthorised blocking of public access roads and extortion of money from innocent civilians at illegal road blocks.

To support the military’s position, he said IPOB used weapons (stones, Molotov cocktails, machetes and broken bottles, among others) on a patrol on September 10, 2017.

But only yesterday the Army said: “While they are yet to carry arms openly in their activities, it is very likely that they would employ the use of arms in the days ahead.”

So, did IPOB take delivery of arms between yesterday and today?

Note that the army constantly used the word “insurgency” to describe IPOB’s activities in the press statement.

Sadly, DHQ is engaged in propaganda at this time. They don’t have powers to declare anyone “terrorist organisation.”


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