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Published On: Tue, Nov 18th, 2014

Boko Haram: Groups drag Sheriff, Ihejirika to Int’l Criminal Court

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azubuike-ihejirika_modu-sheriffBy Tobias Lengnan Dapam with agency report

Two disparate groups have separately approached the International Criminal Court (ICC) at the Hague, Netherlands, seeking prosecution of government officials and key individuals accused of aiding and abetting the activities of the deadly Boko Haram insurrection in Nigeria.

The Northern Consensus Movement (NCM), a coalition of community based organisations in northern Nigeria, and the Human and Environmental Development Agenda are praying the ICC to bring all sponsors and accomplices in the Boko Haram carnage to book.

In a petition to the ICC signed by its representative, Musa Suleiman, the NCM said it has been keenly watching the acts of impunity being perpetrated against the hapless populations of the north east and other parts of the north by criminal and unpatriotic elements.

“We have chronicled all of these and we are announcing and sending notice that the time of reckoning has come. In this new democratic age, there is no hiding place for terrorist and those who sponsor them.

“Consequently, we have formally reported Alhaji Modu Sheriff former governor of Borno State & the former Nigerian Army Chief, General Ihejirika to the International Court of Justice?

“Our petition to the court is aimed at prosecuting these two persons whose names appear frequently in the numerous allegations for sponsorship of Boko Haram.

“Our petition to the court followed grave allegations from various credible quarters implicating close associates of President Goodluck Jonathan and members of his cabinet in the events which are happening in the North East. These events have been classified by the International Criminal Court as constituting War Crimes and Crimes against Humanity,” the petition said.

Meanwhile, a non-governmental organisation (NGO), the Human and Environmental Development Agenda (HEDA Resource Centre), has written to the Trial Prosecutor, International Criminal Court (ICC), The Hague, Netherlands, requesting it to investigate allegations of complicity against government officials in the terrorism war by Boko Haram insurgents in Nigeria’s North-East.

The letter, dated September 1, 2014 and addressed to Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda of the ICC, was titled: ‘Possible Culpability of Nigerian Government officials in Boko Haram terrorism and Genocidal atrocities in Northern Nigeria: Request for investigation and prosecution’.

It was signed by HEDA’s chairman, Olarenwaju Suraju.

HEDA, in the letter, drew Bensouda’s attention “to the unfolding revelations surrounding the alleged sponsorship and conspiratorial support of certain ex- officials of the Nigerian Government to the terrorist group, Boko Haram.”

The group said: “The heinous crimes against humanity being perpetuated by the terrorist group in the north-eastern and a few other parts of the country since 2009, is in clear violation of Article 7 of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.

“We, therefore, invite you to open a comprehensive examination of these violations. This is only in line with your office’s promise in a statement issued in response to the criminal abduction of 279 school children of Chibok community in Borno state. We equally wish to request that you investigate and prosecute any international crime that may have been committed by the Boko Haram terrorist group and their sponsors, under the Rome Statute of the ICC.”

“As 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 1, 2002 onwards.”

HEDA noted that the total number of Nigerian refugees in Cameroon now stands at some 39,000, while Niger is already hosting more than 50,000 forcibly displaced from Nigeria since May 2013, adding: “Another 1,500 Nigerians have sought refuge in Chad. In Nigeria 645,000 have been displaced in Borno,

Adamawa and Yobe states, according to UNHCR spokesman, Adrian Edwards.”

“On a conservative estimate, the death toll arising from Boko Haram’s activities between July 2009 and July 2014 is over 22,000. This includes 2,000 deaths in 2014 alone,” the group said.

“With your public admittance of Boko Haram’s activities as qualifying for crimes against humanity, we shall not bother with further legal points to qualify these atrocities under the Rome Statute. It is also instructive to assert that the Nigerian government, under the current leadership lacks the political will and judicial independence to prosecute the individuals who are friends and former subordinates of the President.

“It is said that an injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. HEDA is concerned that the failure of the International Criminal Court to halt the egregious affront and murderous campaigns of the Boko Haram, makes more Nigerians and citizens of neighbouring countries potential victims of their brazen murder of innocent souls. We hereby urge the ICC to urgently open immediate examination of this development by inviting Rev. Stephen Davis to provide insight into his revelations, to assist the court in its investigation and possible prosecution of those connected with the crimes.

“We look forward to your urgent response to this matter.”

 

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