President Muhammadu Buhari has via signature approved a presidential proclamation proscribing the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).
ThisDay newspaper reports that the move is aimed to take the heat off the army and to ensure that due process is followed.
Buhari reportedly signed the proclamation on Sunday before his departure for New York.
“A source in the attorney-general’s office explained that the presidency had effectively initiated the formal process of proscribing IPOB in accordance with the provisions of the Terrorism (Prevention) Act, 2011.
“It had also paved the way for the attorney general of the federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami (SAN) to head to court to give legal backing to the presidential proclamation.
“The issue was extensively debated between Buhari, the AGF and other aides before he left for the UN General Assembly and the president decided to sign the declaration before leaving for New York, so he could say that due process was being followed if the question was raised by other world leaders at the UN,” the newspaper quoted their sources as saying.
Last Friday, the defence headquarters (DHQ) declared IPOB a “militant terrorist” organisation. South-east governors subsequently issued a statement, proscribing the group.
However, the military has come under severe criticism for the declaration. Though Tukur Buratai, chief of army staff, said the DHQ only made a pronouncement and not a declaration on the group.
Yesterday, the Senate President Bukola Saraki also described the action of the military and the governors as unconstitutional.