THE Presidency has faulted the argument credited to Senate President Bukola Saraki that the Nigerian Army lacked the powers to declare the pro-Biafra group, Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), a terrorist organisation.
Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on Prosecution, Okoi Obono-Obla, argued that the Army’s decision was in order.
He queried the legal right of the Senate President and the entire Legislature to declare as illegal, a decision or action by the Executive or any of its agencies.
Obono-Obla, who drew a distinction between proscription and the declaration of an organsation as a terrorist group, said the Attorney General would soon apply to the court for IPOB’s proscription.
The Presidential aide, in a statement yesterday, argued that the Army, being an agency of the Executive arm of government, acted within its powers in declaring IPOB a terrorist group for operational convenience.
He said: “The military, as part of the Executive branch of government, has the right to declare that IPOB is a terrorist organisation for the purpose of quelling the threat posed to national security and corporate existence of the country by the unwholesome and nefarious activities of the organisation.
“So, there is nothing absolutely wrong or unconstitutional for the military, for operational reason, to declare IPOB a terrorist organisation.
“Declaration of IPOB as a terrorist organisation does not amount to proscription of IPOB. Proscription of IPOB will surely be in accordance with the procedure and processes underlined in the provisions of Section 2 (1) of the Terrorism ( Prevention) Act 2011.”
He added: “The military never proscribed IPO, but only declared it a terrorist organisation, because of the way and manner it has been carrying out its activities.
“These include pelting stones and cocktail Molotov bombs on convoys of military vehicles, burning of police stations, killings of police officers, attacking and threatening Nigerians living in Abia State, who do not subscribe to its separatist and militants ideology , creating the Biafra Security Service and Biafra National Guard.”