Ex-Chief Judge, who issued court order proscribing IPOB, is dead

The immediate-past Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Adamu Abdu-Kafarati, is dead.

Mr Abdu-Kafarati, who retired about 19 months ago, died at 66 on Thursday.

A major highlight of his judicial career was the court order he issued in September 2017 to proscribe the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports on Friday that Mr Abdu-Kafarati, who hailed from Bauchi State, died Thursday night, after observing his evening prayer.

NAN quoted a family source announcing the passing of the former judge in a statement.

The statement read, “Innalillahi Wa inna ilaihi Rajiun.

“It is with deep sorry that I announced the passing away of our elder statesman, Hon Justice Abdul Kafarati the immediate-past Chief Justice of High Court of the Federation and former Bauchi State Attorney General which occurred this night (Thursday) after magrib salat at Abuja.”

Mr Abdu-Kafarati was inaugurated as the Acting Chief Judge of the Federal High Court on September 16, 2017.

He was sworn in as the substantive Chief Judge of the court on June 18, 2018.

He retired 13 months later on clocking the mandatory retirement age of 65 on July 25, 2019.

IPOB’s proscription

Barely four days after his appointment as the acting Chief Judge, Mr Abdu-Kafarati on September 20, 2017, issued the order proscribing IPOB and its activities.

The order, which validated President Muhammadu Buhari’s earlier executive order, designated IPOB as a terrorist group and its activities “an act of terrorism”.

Mr Abdu-Kafarati gave the order following an ex parte application filed by the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami.

The proceedings took place inside chambers and not in open court.

IPOB later filed an application challenging the proscription order.

Mr Abdu-Kafarati, in a ruling delivered on January 18, 2018, dismissed the application and affirmed its order proscribing and designating it a terrorist organisation.

He ruled that the issuance of the proscription order by him in chambers on September 20, 2017 was in accordance with the provision of the Terrorism Prevention Act.

Mr Abdu-Kafarati, ruled that the ex parte did not violate the group’s right to fair hearing, rights to freedom of assembly, freedom of assembly and expression.

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He also awarded the sum of N500,000 as cost against IPOB.

IPOB has since been on appeal to have the proscription order reversed.

Despite the proscription order, IPOB has continued to carry on with its activities in the South-east region, insisting on its demand for a Republic of Biafra.

Its leader, Nnamdi Kanu, who fled the country after a violent military attack on his home under an operation code named ‘Operation Python Dance II’ in September 2017, has continued to reach out to members of the organisation through various social media channels.

(NAN)

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