The African Commission on Human and People’s Rights (ACHPR) has restrained the Nigerian government from taking further actions against the President of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, and members of the group pending the decision of the commission on the complaint of the group against the government.
The ACHPR, which reports to the African Union (AU) is a quasi-judicial body tasked with promoting and protecting human rights and collective (peoples’) rights throughout the African continent as well as interpreting the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and adjudication of individual complaints brought before the commission against member states.
Nigeria is a member state and has also ratified the African Charter, which all together makes it subject to the jurisdiction of ACHPR.
In a ruling on March 8, 2018, which emanated from a complaint filed by Aloy Ejimakor of Adulbert Legal Services on behalf of Nnamdi Kanu and IPOB on December 14, 2017, the commission granted the request of the complainant for ‘Provisional Measures’.
The complaint placed three main issues for the consideration of the commission, to wit: Nnamdi Kanu’s trial, Operation Python Dance and its aftermaths in the South East of Nigeria, including the military invasion of Kanu’s family home in Umuahia, and declaration of IPOB as a terrorist organisation.
The commission, in a letter to President Muhammadu Buhari, signed by its Chairman, Commissioner Soyata Maiga, with reference: ACHPR/PROVM/NIGRA/680/17397/1869, dated March 8, 2018, listed the complaints and stated that it has assumed jurisdiction to adjudicate on the IPOB complaint, and gave President Buhari 15 days to respond with actions he has taken to implement the provisional measures ordered by it.
In the letter, the commission said: “Your Excellency, the complainant has requested the commission to invoke Rule 98 of its Rules of Procedure and issue Provisional Measures to prevent irreparable damage to the victim, IPOB and its members, pending the decision of the commission on the communication.
“I would like to draw your Excellency’s kind attention to the fact that at its 37th Ordinary Session, held from November 21 to December 5, 2005, in Banjul, The Gambia, the commission adopted Resolution 88 on the Protection of Human Rights and the Rule of Law in the fight against terrorism in Africa, which calls on African states to ensure that the measures taken to combat terrorism fully comply with their obligations under the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and other international human rights treaties.
These include the right to life, the prohibition of arbitrary arrests and detention, the right to fair hearing, the prohibition of torture and others.”