By Omeiza Ajayi
ABUJA: A pro-democracy group, Vanguard of Nigerians in Diaspora DVND has petitioned the International Criminal Court, ICC, over the continued wave of killings in the country, accusing the federal government of complicity and alleging that in the past four years, the government has not taken concrete steps to halt the trend.
The group, a non-governmental, non-profit and human rights organization involved in global network for the protection of democratic processes around the world and especially in Africa, said it was constrained to write the ICC, drawing its attention to the threat being posed to Nigeria’s democracy as well as several cases of human rights abuses.
In the petition addressed to the Special Prosecutor of ICC, titled “Act of genocide and crimes against humanity in Nigeria”, president of the group, Timothy A. Sule, said: “As a group, we are tired of the endless carnage going on in Nigeria and we feel very strongly that the Government of President Muhammadu Buhari cannot be exonerated from the ongoing continuous perpetuation of the pogrom against a people of a religion and ethnic configuration.
“As you already know Sir, Nigeria is a State Party to the Rome Statute, the ICC has jurisdiction over war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide committed on the territory of Nigeria or by its nationals from July 1st 2002.
“Having concluded that some of the alleged crimes committed in the Nigeria situation fall within the subject-matter jurisdiction of the ICC, the Office of the Special Prosecutor is vehemently urged to carry independent investigations of constant killings with a view to trying and punishing the culprits.
“Sir, we call on your esteemed office to as a matter of urgency set up a committee to carry out relevant assessment and investigation of the contemporary national security issues in conformity with the ICC’s principle of complementarity.
“Currently, rising conflict between herders and farmers in Nigeria is already 10 times deadlier now than Boko Haram’s insurgency. This is certainly a cause for worry.
“In December of 2015, the Nigerian army under the command of the Chief of Army Staff Lt. Gen. Tukur Yusuf Buratai led the mass killing of hundreds of minority Shiites Muslims in the Northern State of Kaduna in Zaria town.
“According to the self-given testimony of the Kaduna State Government, at least 350 bodies of victims of the brutal army massacre were secretly buried in a mass grave at Mando, a suburb town in Kaduna State.
“The Federal government of Nigeria has refused, neglected, declined to stop the bloodshed, improve security; end impunity and or even retire the Army Chief and or investigate him and all other members of the Nigerian security services at all levels implicated in this unconscionable unleashing of terror by the Nigerian army and police on the citizens of Nigeria as demanded by Nigerians of goodwill”, the group stated.