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30 Sep 2017

Igbo groups mobilise SANs to defend IPOB suspects

Meanwhile, a pro-Igbo Group, Igbo National Council, says it is reaching out to lawyers, including Senior Advocates of Nigeria from the South-East, to defend arrested members of the IPOB.
INC explained that the move was based on its members’ conviction that it was legally and morally wrong for the Federal Government to proscribe IPOB as a terrorist organisation.

The president of the group, Chilos Godsent, told Saturday PUNCH in Owerri, the Imo State capital that the pro-Biafra agitators had not violated any section of the constitution, and that INC would give the arrested IPOB members maximum support.

Godsent said, “The Igbo National Council at its last National Executive Council meeting held in Owerri on Friday, September 22, 2017, among other issues, resolved to reach out to progressive lawyers of Igbo extraction, including SANs, to discuss with them on the issue of volunteering to defend members of IPOB who were arrested during the Operation python Dance II in the South-East region.

“INC was dismayed that the Federal Government, through the Attorney General of the Federation, has concluded plans to charge the alleged IPOB members for terrorism. INC notes that IPOB is not a terrorist organisation and members of IPOB have not willfully violated any section of the 1999 Constitution that guarantee the rights to peaceful assembly and the rights to form and belong to any association.

“In view of the above, INC leadership and its contact committee have started reaching out to lawyers in that respect.”

The group said it was aware that the top members of IPOB were also reaching out to many other lawyers for the same purpose and that on its own, the lawyers it had met with so far had indicated interest in defending the IPOB members arrested in the course of the struggle.

Similarly, Concerned Igbo Unity Forum said that some of its members who are lawyers have volunteered to appear in court for the arrested IPOB members on pro bono basis.

The chairman of the forum, Sixtus Nwoke, said, “There are lawyers who have volunteered to take up the case considering the general view that they are not a terrorist organisation. Our stand is to ensure the unity of the Igbo among themselves in any state or country of residence.

“We equally ensure the safety of their lives and property during precarious times such as we are experiencing now.”

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