Lawyers from Igbo speaking region of Nigeria have applied to the Federal High Court in Abuja to join them as defendants in a suit filed by a group of Northern elders, praying for the exit of the South East region out of Nigeria based on the agitations of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafran (IPOB) and Nnamdi Kanu.
The legal practitioners led by a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Chief Chuks Muoma, Ukpai Ukairo, Ebere Uzoatu and Hon Obi Emuka are asking for an order of the court to allow them to join in the suit as representatives of the people of the South Eastern region.
In their application for joinder filed by Victor Onweremadu sighted on Monday in Abuja, the applicants claimed that the case of the Northern elders seeking the exit of South East from Nigeria has the capability to shape the life of the generation of Igbo people.
The Northern elders had in June this year filed the contentious suit asking the court to compel the Senate President and Speaker of the House of Representatives to hasten the exit of the South-Eastern region out of Nigeria before concluding the ongoing amendment to the country’s constitution.
The request for the court order to compel hastening of South-East exit from Nigeria was one of the three prayers sought in a suit marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/538/2021 filed by a group of elders and politicians from the North led by Nastura Ashir Shariff, Balarabe Rufa’I, Abdul-Aziz Sulaiman and Aminu Adam.
They averred in a supporting affidavit that their action was informed by the need to stem the tide of violence and destruction being allegedly occasioned by the agitation for secession championed by the Nnamdi Kanu-led IPOB.
Plaintiffs, who claimed that they do not want a repeat of the 1967 to 1970 civil war in Nigeria that cost the nation many innocent lives and properties worth billions of naira., listed the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), the Senate President, the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the National Assembly as defendants in their suit.
Although the Igbos are not joined in the suit, the Igbo lawyers claimed that they have an interest to protect in the suit, hence, their request to be made a set of defendants in the case.
In their 12-paragraph affidavit in support of their application, the lawyers noted that the Northern elders in their suit did not think it necessary to join the people of South-East or their representatives to enable the court to hear from them.
The affidavit deposed to by one Ekenna Felix Jonathan read in part, “that this suit is so crucial and a sensitive matter which concerns the Indigenous Igbo speaking tribe in Nigeria and has the capability to shape the life of the future generation of the people of the South-East of Nigeria and other indigenous Igbo speaking tribes in Nigeria.
“That the Igbo Lawyers Association represented by the applicants are an indigenous association of lawyers from the South-East of Nigeria and other indigenous Igbo speaking tribes in Nigeria.
“That the Igbo Lawyers Association and its objective is to represent the interest of the Igbo people which said people are Indigenous in the South-East of Nigeria. Thus, the association is interested and is a necessary party to be joined.
“That it will serve the interest of justice if the Honourable court grants the application and join the applicants as defendants in the suit and that the plaintiffs will not be prejudiced if the application is granted.”
Justice Inyang Ekwo has fixed November 1, 2021, for the hearing of the suit.