Proscription: Police read the riot act to IPOB

The Nigeria Police Force has read the riot act to the Indigenous People of Biafra members and their sympathisers , saying it will arrest and prosecute them anywhere they are found holding a rally or a protest .
The Force Public Relations Officer , Jimoh Moshood , who gave the fresh warning in an interview with
Saturday PUNCH on Friday in Abuja , said that with the proscription of IPOB , the police would take tough measures against its members and their sympathisers .
Moshood noted that having been declared as an unlawful group by the court and proscribed by the Federal Government, IPOB members would not be treated by the police with kid gloves .
The police spokesman said it was unlawful for IPOB to assemble for rallies or protests , describing such as unlawful assemblies. He said the force would break up such assemblies and carry out mass arrests of the participants .
He said, “ If we find IPOB members holding rallies or protests anywhere in the country , the full weight of the law will be brought upon them . The full weight of the law would be applied .
“ They have been proscribed by the Federal Government and the court has equally proscribed them . If we see them , they will be arrested . ”
Moshood called on parents and guardians to counsel their children and wards against keeping company with IPOB members, noting that anyone arrested for involvement with the outlawed group would regret such an action .
He added , “ We won ’ t allow any illegal , unlawful group to hold a gathering anywhere in the country . It is unlawful for them to assemble for rallies or protest . They will be arrested and prosecuted and parents are advised to counsel their children against keeping company with them . ”
The Federal High Court in Abuja had on Wednesday given judicial backing to the executive order of President Muhammadu Buhari , outlawing IPOB and its activities in every part of Nigeria.
The Acting Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice Abdu Kafarati , who granted the order proscribing the group , declared that the activities of the group constituted acts of terrorism and illegality .
FG cannot cage Biafrans , we have freedom of association, speech — - MASSOB
Reacting to the plan by the police, the Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra said pro - Biafra agitators could not be caged.
MASSOB National Director of Information, Comrade Samuel Edeson, said the pro - Biafra groups would continue their activities because they are human beings who should enjoy freedom of association and speech . According to him , the agitators are prepared to die in the struggle.
In an interview with one of our correspondents in Enugu , Edeson said, “ It is impossible for them to cage us . We Biafrans have freedom of association, we have freedom of speech . We cannot be intimidated.
“ This is the worst government since the return of democratic rule in 1999 . What is obtainable in Nigeria now is called democracy but it is not democracy – it is autocracy and dictatorship .
“ The Inspector General of Police and all the security agencies should prepare their detention centres – we cannot be caged. The proscription of IPOB is unacceptable . ”
Edeson wondered why the Federal Government was not going after the Fulani herdsmen allegedly wreaking havoc on farmlands and killing people . Describing them as the real terrorists , Edeson said they should be treated the same way IPOB and other pro - Biafra groups were being treated .
“ Why is the Federal Government so jittery about Biafra? Why are they worried about us ? Why can ’ t they go after Boko Haram and the Fulani herdsmen , who are killing and terrorising Nigerians ?
“ We are ready to die in this struggle but we will continue with our non - violent approach – they know who the real terrorists are and we are not terrorists , ” the MASSOB spokesman said.
It ’ s unlawful for police to enforce order, says INTERSOCIETY
Also , a rights group based in Onitsha , Anambra State , International Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law , on Friday said it would be presumptuous and unlawful for the police to stop members of IPOB from holding rallies and having lawful assembly based on the proscription of the group by an Abuja Federal High Court.
The Board of Trustees Chairman of INTERSOCIETY, Mr . Emeka Umeagbalasi , said the process of the purported proscription of IPOB had not been completed .
He said before the security agencies could enforce such an order , the proscription must be gazetted as required by extant laws .
He added that it was wrong in law to reach a declaratory decision of such magnitude (proscription) through an exparte motion .
He said, “ More so, an Abuja Federal High court had in a superior judgment delivered by Justice Binta Nyako , said the fact that IPOB was not an organisation registered in Nigeria did not make it an illegal society.
“ Justice Nyako held that the Federal Government failed to prove that IPOB , allegedly managed by Kanu and his co - defendants, was an unlawful society .
“ What is expected of the Federal Government is to appeal that judgment and not to run and obtain an exparte in a forum shopping manner to declare IPOB a terrorist organisation .
“ An organisation that is not unlawful in the eye of the law cannot be a terrorist organisation . An organisation should first be illegal before it can become a terrorist group . This fire fighting approach of the Federal Government on legal matters is a threat to our democracy .
“ You can ’ t put something on nothing . IPOB members are entitled to fair hearing as contained in section 36 of our constitution.
‘‘ So , police cannot stop them from enjoying such freedom just because of an exparte order; more so now that IPOB had challenged the purported proscription in court . ”
IPOB : S ’ East govs averted another civil war —Coalition
Meanwhile , a coalition of civil society groups has commended the manner by which South - East governors handled the rising threat to the nation ’s stability and unity , saying they averted another civil war by their action .
The movement , # OurMumuDonDo, Concerned Nigerians and Campaign for Democracy, in a statement on Friday in Abuja , noted that the ban on IPOB activities by the governors prevented bloodshed and further confrontation between them and security agents .
The statement was signed by Charles Oputa, Deji Adeyanju and Bako Usman, on behalf of the coalition .
It read , “The maturity and calmness displayed by the governors in the face of the Federal Government ’s heavy - handed approach and the provocative disposition of the Indiginous People of Biafra has averted further confrontations , which were likely to be bloody and even more likely to stoke ethnic and religious tensions around the country .
“ We call on the governors of the southeastern states , as well as all governors in the country , to continue to do more to preserve and foster national unity , as well as the safety and security of all Nigerians nationwide . ”
Meanwhile , a group , the Niger Delta National Youth Leaders and Stakeholders Forum has called on the Federal Government to complete all abandoned empowerment projects in the Niger Delta, noting that this was the only way to curb crime and militancy among the youths of the area .
Speaking at a press conference in Abuja , the group ’s President , Felix Ihonre , said empowerment of thousands of jobless youths could end restiveness and violence in the Niger Delta and other parts of the country .