Lawyers condemn Igbo quit notice, say it is threat to national peace, unity

Caroline Ajie

A constitutional and human rights lawyer, Caroline Ajie, has said the quit notice given by Arewa youth groups to Igbo in the North was an offence in law.

According to her, all Nigerians have the constitutional right to live anywhere they like.

“So, that call is abominable and demonic. It is a breach of the constitutional right of Nigerian citizens of Igbo extraction to live in any part of the nation. It is a serious infraction,” she stated.

In the same vein, an Abuja-based lawyer, Abubakar Sani, wondered what the youths want to achieve by their declaration of an ultimatum.

He said: “What kind of declaration is that? It has the tendency to cause the breach of the peace of the country. Under the constitution, any Nigerian has the right to reside in any part of the country, build house and own property. That statement should not be given the kind of attention they are giving to it. The Department of State Services (DSS) and the police should go and arrest those who made the statement and deal with them decisively.

“They cannot even enforce it. So, it is a serious challenge for the DSS and the police to tackle because that is what they are set up to do. Therefore, I call on the security agencies to arrest whoever that issued that statement and charge them to court for conduct likely to cause breach of the peace and incitement.”

Also, former Chairman of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Ikorodu Branch, Nurudeen Ogbara, described the threat as a serious offence.

He said: “It is also a breach to their fundamental rights and also a violent contravention of their rights to freedom of movement. It is also a fragrant breach of their fundamental rights not to be discriminated against as Nigerian citizens. It is also a breach of various legal instruments.

“In fact, it is very criminal for somebody to say leave my area on or before October 1. It borders on criminality, threat to life and breach of many fundamental rights under the 1999 Constitution, the African Charter, International Convention on Political, Social and Cultural Rights. It is also a violation of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which some people say it is not a legal document, but a moral document that has the consensus of international community; and that is what makes it law.”

The Director, Access to Justice, Joseph Otteh, described the call as an actual incitement to violence and public disturbance.

His words: “And that kind of incitement will constitute a violation of the relevant sections of the penal code in Kaduna State. It is an incitement to violence, which is a criminal offence.”

A Lagos lawyer, Chris Okeke, said: “How can they threaten a whole group of people with death? It is in clear breach of the constitution of Nigeria. It is a threat to life and property in breach of the criminal code and the administration of criminal justice act as well as every other law that is in existence in Nigeria. It has no comparison in its cruelty, wickedness and intolerance. Therefore, I call on law enforcement agents to go after those criminals.”

But Adekunle Oyesanya (SAN) said the threat is not an issue at all.

“They are criminal youths who are just making a threat but they did not say what they would do if they don’t leave.”

In this article:
Caroline AjieDSSNBA


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