A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, on Monday, adjourned the hearing of a suit filed by the Coalition of Northern Groups (CNG), seeking a referendum to determine the fate of Biafra and other self-determination agitators.
CNG had, in June, sued the National Assembly and the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, asking the court to compel the defendants to halt the ongoing constitutional review exercise and conduct a referendum to determine what the agitators are demanding.
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The case was however adjourned till January 20, 2022, following the absence of the Judge, Justice Inyang Ekpo, who was assigned to handle the case.
The judge was said to have been on another official assignment.
Speaking to journalists after the adjournment, the spokesperson of the CNG, Abdul-Azeez Suleiman, noted that the court could not sit and the suit was subsequently adjourned to 20th January 2022.
Suleiman maintained that instead of constitutional review, the defendants should immediately provide a framework for the actualisation of agitators’ demand on self-determination.
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.
“And most of the people engaged in this activity are below 50.
“So, if we allow our leaders of today to go and leave us with these people in this situation, there may be another bloodshed or civil war.
“That’s what we want to avoid, which is why we come to the 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 – 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,” he said.
The suit, filed by the plaintiffs and leaders of the group, Nastura Ashir Shariff, Abdul-Azeez Suleiman, Balarabe Rufa’i and Aminu Adam, joined the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami; Senate President, Ahmad Lawan; Speaker, House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila and the National Assembly as defendants.
In his remarks, the lead counsel for the CNG, Barr. Safiyanu Gambo, said: “The first thing to do in any civil society is approach civil remedies first.
“For whatever reason people still have grievances, since there is a charter that article 20 has allowed for any part of the country to seek for self-determination.
“We felt the right thing to do is to approach the court to interpret that particular provisions of the law as well as comment on that origin some provisions of law and give effect to it,” he said.
Speaking on behalf of the Igbo Lawyers Association, the party seeking to be joined in the suit, Bar Ukpai Ukairo, said, “Why we are seeking to join the suit, we know that the African charter on human and people rights has adequate provisions for self-determination.