A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, on Thursday, adjourned the hearing of a suit filed by the Coalition of Northern Groups, CNG seeking a referendum to determine the fate of Biafra and other self-determination agitations, to May 24, 2023.
This case has been said to have suffered hearing for over two years. Again, today the case was adjourned after the court presided over by Justice Inyang Ekwo could not sit as scheduled.
Counsel to CNG, Barrister Sufiyanu Gambo Idris, while briefing journalists, said: “The court did not sit even though today supposed to be rejoinder. The Judge gave reasons that he is absent even though he is not made available to us, so we decided to take another date and we took 24th of May 2023 for motion.”
Recall that the CNG, had filed a suit before the Federal High Court in Abuja seeking to stop the National Assembly from taking any further action towards reviewing the Constitution unless the question of Nigeria’s unity, particularly the Biafra agitation was settled through a referendum.
The court document marked FHC/ABJ/CS/538/2021 was dispatched for service on the Offices of the Senate President, the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the Attorney-General of the Federation.
Reacting to the development, Abdul-Azeez Suleiman, Spokesperson of the Coalition of Northern Groups, said that the coalition have confidence that the court, being the ultimate temple of justice would eventually do justice to the suit.
He said: “We’re however worried that while the case is suffering these much adjournment, the country on the other hand, is getting more embroiled with each passing day. This case ought to be treated as the only available decent option to finally resolve the long drawn and fast escalating regional agitations, unreasonable violence and resounding rumours of war from particularly the southeast.
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“This suit, when concluded, will permanently put an end to the widespread pervasive distrust resulting from the hate campaigns persistently waged by political opportunists and authors of senseless violence. The suit hopes to secure a final legal pronouncement on the issue of self determination by enclaves that call for it on the slightest opportunity of pretence. We hope the court will see the urgency of treating the matter once for all.”
Also speaking, Counsel to Ibom People’s Movement, Barrister. Adesina Oke, asking to join in the suit for self determination for Akwa Ibom citizens, demanded an end to the political and economic colonization of Akwa Ibom by the Nigerian State.
Oke said: “Ibom Peoples Movement is led by Offiong Offiong Aqua who is the Leader and Chief Political Officer of this self determination group. We are asking for a self determination referendum to determine the future of ignored Akwa Ibom as a Federating Unit in the Nigerian State. Do our people want to continue being second class citizens in Nigeria or not?”
He noted that Akwa Ibom land has natural resources making it the number one contributor to the economy of the Nigerian State, saying that, “Akwa Ibom resources are under the manipulation and control of other ethnic nationalities and the Nigerian State with net benefits of less than one percent to the people of Akwa Ibom. Akwa Ibom people do not have a proper and legitimate representation at the executive branch (MDAs) of the Nigerian State.
“We resolve to maintain the sanctity of the Akwa Ibom people who, as the most ancient of all the ethnic groups in present day Nigeria, are a unique, distinct and aboriginal people sharing no migration history whatsoever with any other tribe in Nigeria.”