EndSARS, IPOB Saga: Buhari, Security Forces In Trouble As ICC Receives Information On Crimes

International Criminal Court (ICC) says it has received information alleging human rights crimes against the Buhari administration.

Before the eruption of the EndSARS hurricane, the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), galvanised by Nnamdi Kanu, has been accusing the armed security forces of Nigeria of alleged genocide.

Driving home its point, IPOB recently sent a petition to the Special Rapporteur for Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions at the United Nations, Agnes Callamard.

Behold, the materials chronicling alleged human rights abuses perpetrated against Biafrans in Nigeria sent to the UN official which appears to have found its way to the ICC also.

ICC investigates and, where warranted, tries individuals charged with the gravest crimes of concern to the international community: genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity and the crime of aggression.

The Court is participating in a global fight to end impunity, and through international criminal justice, the court aims to hold those responsible accountable for their crimes and to help prevent these crimes from happening again.

​​But it cannot reach these goals alone. As a court of last resort, it seeks to complement, not replace, national courts. Governed by an international treaty called the Rome Statute, the ICC is the world’s first permanent international criminal court.

This is, however, coming as the Minority Caucus of the House of Representatives gave President Mohammadu Buhari a thumb down for his speech on the EndSARS protests, describing it as lacking in empathy and not meeting the expectations of Nigerians.

Similarly, former Deputy National Publicity Secretary of All Progressives Congress (APC), Buhari’s party, Timi Frank, describes the President’s national address in response to the ongoing protests against police brutality as an insult upon injury inflicted on Nigerians by his bad policies and harsh socio-economic conditions.

He is accusing President Buhari of gross insensitivity for not acknowledging the massacre of scores of Nigerians by soldiers at the Lekki Tollgate in Lagos, claiming that by not paying respect to the dead, injured and bereaved families, the President has shown that he is neither a father nor a leader.

According to the political activist, ‘’Buhari as the Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces is in charge of the Nigerian Army and therefore cannot deny giving the order to deploy soldiers to the tollgate who rained bullets that massacred the EndSARS protesters.

“It is evident, I dare say, that Buhari deliberately omitted to condemn the ignoble act and order investigation into the massacre of unarmed and peaceful EndSARS protesters at the Lekki Tollgate on Tuesday night because he is complicit in deploying lethal force for the infamous military operation. It is unthinkable that after such a horrendous rain of bullets on unarmed protesters the President still could not empathize with the wounded nor sympathize with those who lost their loved ones.”

While calling on ICC to take strong action against Buhari, the Governor of Lagos State and the security forces for alleged pogrom, Frank adds that rather than being conciliatory and stooping to conquer, Buhari’s speech was filled with military rhetoric even as an elected President.

“Clearly, there is nothing to cheer in a speech that belittled and attempted to hide a tragedy of mowing down innocent youths who were out exercising their fundamental human rights and voicing their frustrations through peaceful assembly and demonstrations.

“Besides, the speech was laced with threats and condescendingly vexatious. I dare say that Buhari’s speech poses more threat to national security than the peaceful protests they forcefully dispersed with high calibre military arms and ammunition”, he says.

Lamenting that President Buhari was more concerned about increasing the salary of policemen and other armed security agencies while neglecting to talk about compensation for youths killed or maimed for life at the Lekki Tollgate.

He adds, “Buhari’s speech is a monumental insult and mockery on Nigerians. No sympathy for the wounded and bereaved. Rather, he threatened Nigerians. His statement was mechanical, disjointed and unpresidential. Nigerians deserve better! What a shame!”

However, the Minority Leader of the House of Reps, Ndudi Elumelu, in a statement said the caucus frowned at the failure of President Buhari to show empathy to the victims of the killings by soldiers.

“The Minority Caucus in the House of Representatives has reviewed the Thursday speech by President Buhari on the protest across the country and submits that the address did not meet the expectation of most Nigerians.

“As representatives of the people, our caucus is particularly surprised that Mr. President’s speech did not find a space to address the killing of innocent and unarmed Nigerian youths at the Lekki Toll gate; the very development that sparked off violent restiveness across the nation and consequent widespread demand for a presidential address.

“The minority caucus expected that the address by the President to come with some empathy for victims of the killings and other acts of brutality by unscrupulous security operatives, particularly at this time when a soothing words from the President would have gone a long way to calm frayed nerves.

“Indeed, the expectation across Nigeria was for Mr. President to reassure Nigerians, especially the youths by forcefully condemning the killing and brutalization of our young ones, announcing an accelerated independent inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the gruesome acts and setting a clear pathway for the much-needed overhaul of our security system.

“The much desired national healing, peace, unity and stability of our nation anchor on such show of concern and commitment by leaders. As lawmakers, our caucus therefore urges President Buhari, as the father of the nation, to take further steps to realign with the expectations of the people and reassure the nation by immediately setting up an independent inquiry into these killings with a view to prosecuting and bringing the perpetrators to book.

“This is in addition to an inquiry into videos and reports that unscrupulous security operatives mobilized thugs to attack peaceful protesters and unleash violence on innocent Nigerians. Those behind such shameful act that escalated sectional hostilities and pitched citizens against one another should be brought to book.

“The minority caucus once more urges President Buhari to urgently rejig the nation’s security architecture by replacing his service chiefs with more competent and professional hands to assist in effectively handling the security challenges confronting the nation.

“Mr. President is further urged to take urgent steps to accelerate action on his economic reforms so as to provide ample opportunities for our youths to gainfully participate in our productive sectors and ameliorate the hardship, hunger and frustration in the land.

“The minority caucus notes that history beckons and that the unity, stability, peaceful co-existence and general wellbeing of citizens in our country should be paramount at this point in our national life. Our caucus again commiserates with the families of the victims of this unfortunate development, while suing for calm across the country and urging for a collective action that will engender a united and peaceful Nigeria for the good of all.”

In the mean time, ICC Prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, in a Twitter statement said “my office has been closely following the events around the current protests in Nigeria and the reaction of Nigeria’s law enforcement and security agencies.

“Any loss of life and injury is concerning. We have received information alleging crimes and are keeping a close eye on developments in case violence escalates and any indications arise that Rome Statute crimes may have been committed.

“I call for calm and restraint.”

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