Igbo lawyers filed to join suit for South East exit from Nigeria

A group of elders and politicians from the North led by Nastura Shariff, Balarabe Rufai, Abdul-Aziz Sulaiman and Aminu Adam had, last June, filled a suit asking the court to compel the Senate President and Speaker of the House of Representatives to hasten the exit of the South East from Nigeria before concluding the amendment to the country’s constitution. It was one of the three prayers in a suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/538/2021. They averred, in a supporting affidavit, that their action was informed by the need to stem the tide of violence and destruction occasioned by the agitation for secession championed by the Kanu-led IPOB. The plaintiffs said they did not want a repeat of the 1967 to 1970 civil war in Nigeria that cost the nation lives and property that ran into billions of naira.

Lawyers of Igbo extraction have applied to the Federal High Court in Abuja to join as defendants in a suit filed by a group of Northern Elders praying for exit of the South East region from Nigeria based on the agitations of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and its leader, Nnamdi Kanu.

The legal practitioners, led by Chief Chuks Muoma (SAN), Ukpai Ukairo, Ebere Uzoatu and Obi Emuka, are asking an order of the court to allow them join in the suit as representatives of the people of the South East region. In their application for joinder filed by Victor Onweremadu, the lawyers claimed that the Northern elders’ case seeking the exit of South East from Nigeria could shape the life of Igbo people. The motion on notice for the joinder request was brought pursuant to Order 9 Rule 5 and Order 26 Rule 2 of the Federal High Court Civil Procedure Rule 2019.

Listed as defendants in the suit are the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), the Senate President, the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the National Assembly.

Though the Igbo are not joined in the suit, the Igbo lawyers claim that they have interest to protect in the suit; hence, their request to be made a set of defendants in the case. Meanwhile, Justice Inyang Ekwo fixed November 1 for hearing on the suit.

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