October 28, 2021

ICC’s intervention in our school abductions

ICC’s intervention in our school abductions

AS the days go by, Nigeria is proving to have lost its ability to maintain its laws and preserve order which are central to development in any society.

School abductions have become so easy and devoid of consequences that criminals and terrorists have turned it into a pastime.

When over 270 Chibok schoolgirls were abducted on April 14, 2014 by Boko Haram, Nigerians wondered how such a large number of people could be scooped into captivity without trace.

It was the main reason that former President Goodluck Jonathan lost his re-election bid in 2015 to retired Major General Muhammadu Buhari, who promised to tap into his military experiences to arrest insecurity in Nigeria.

However, under Buhari more school abductions have taken place in Dapchi, Yobe State; Kankara in his native Katsina State; Kagara and Tegina in Niger State; Jangabe in Zamfara State and other places in Kaduna and Kebbi States. Apart from school abductions, killings and kidnappings for ransom perpetrated by armed nomadic herders who have transformed into “Bandits”, are daily occurrences throughout Nigeria.

The saddest thing is that the captives only regain their freedom through ransom payment. The police, security and armed forces machineries of the Nigerian state have proved grossly incapable of locating and rescuing these abductees.

So many of them have remained in the clutches of their captors for months because governments can no longer afford the huge ransoms.

The Socio-Economic Rights and Advocacy Project, SERAP, recently petitioned the International Criminal Court, ICC, to investigate these abductions and bring their perpetrators to justice. The ICC says it will soon send its investigators down to Nigeria.

Yet, this is the job that our governance and law enforcement mechanisms are supposed to do. They are supposed to make schools safe and when this safety is breached, rescue the abductees within hours or days.

They are also expected to investigate those behind these crimes against humanity and the collaborators. But because our own governance and law enforcement mechanisms have serially failed, SERAP had to run to the ICC for help.

While we welcome whatever the ICC can do to help, we still strongly believe that it is the duty of the government in power to govern every space within the Nigerian territory.

Inability to do so is failed governance. This failure has further encouraged more gangs to embrace the “lucrative” blood money “business”, with some rogue elements in our law enforcement system getting involved in the crime.

Our campaign for the decentralisation of power remains valid even on this issue. Our centralised system creates a lot of ungoverned spaces. Give power back to the regions or states and enable the people take charge of their destiny and security.

Without this, the situation will continue to worsen.