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Court dismisses lawsuit seeking Igbo exit from Nigeria

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Justice Inyang Edem Ekwo at the Federal High Court in Abuja has dismissed a lawsuit brought forth by a Coalition of Northern Groups aimed at forcing the departure of Igbo individuals from the South East region out of Nigeria.

The lawsuit, spearheaded by a group of Northern elders and politicians including Nastura Shariff, Balarabe Rufa’i, Abdul-Aziz Sulaiman, and Aminu Adam, was dismissed by the Judge due to the continuous absence of the plaintiffs in court to present their arguments.

Upon review of the case file, Justice Ekwo noted a lack of attendance by the Northern groups and their legal representatives since 2022. Consequently, the Judge concluded that the plaintiffs had neglected their own case.

The Judge ruled that the case was being dismissed due to a lack of diligent prosecution by the plaintiffs. The lawsuit sought to compel the Senate President and Speaker of the House of Representatives to expedite the exit of the southeastern region from Nigeria before the completion of the amendment of the country’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.

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.

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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.”

“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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