By Dirisu Yakubu
The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Wednesday called on the International Criminal Court, ICC, to commence the investigation of the tenure of Nigeria’s immediate past service chiefs over reported atrocities and crimes against humanity committed by security operatives under their command.
The PDP also calls on International Police, INTERPOL, and other world bodies to commence processes that will lead to the prosecution as well as firm sanctions, “including travel ban and freezing of assets belonging to all those involved in killings and human right abuses by security operatives under the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration.”
In a statement signed by its spokesman, Kola Ologbondiyan, the PDP said with the exit of the former service chiefs from office, ICC’s Chief Prosecutor, Ms. Fatou Bensouda, should issue official warrant in line with the court’s earlier declaration that it has enough evidence to open a full probe on alleged crimes against humanity under the outgoing commanders.
“The PDP urges the ICC to probe the cases of extra-judicial execution of innocent Nigerians, massacre of peaceful protesters, illegal arrests and arbitrary detention of citizens in dehumanizing cells, torture and rape allegedly committed by the military under the outgoing commanders, as detailed in the reports of credible international bodies including the United States Department of State, Amnesty International (AI) and Transparency International (TI).
“The exiting service chiefs must be made to provide answers for the reported massacre of unarmed protesters by the military in the northwest and southeast states between 2015 and 2018, including the 348 civilians reportedly killed by soldiers in Kaduna state as well as the 347 bodies found in mass graves in the aftermath of the Zaria massacre.
“The ICC is further called upon to investigate reports of military invasion and mass shooting in communities in Borno, Yobe, Rivers, Abia, Anambra among other states where soldiers reportedly killed unarmed civilians, razed communities, burnt homes, displaced inhabitants, raped women, detained, beat up and tortured citizens in detention camps reportedly located in military barracks where deadly fumigation chemicals were allegedly used in overcrowded cells.
“Our party further implores the ICC to investigate the reported inhuman detention of thousands of Nigerian children by military operatives in the northeast camps particularly between 2017, when more than 1,600 children were reported to have been in illegal detention in cages and 2018, when the UN detailed 418 detained children. This is in addition to the no fewer than 1000 children reportedly released under negotiation by the UN in 2016.
“Also our party stands with Nigerians in demanding for a full scale investigation into the deployment of the military in the EndSARS protests, resulting in the shooting and killing of unarmed civilians at Lekki Toll gate in Lagos and other parts of the country.
“While the PDP expresses unwavering confidence in our military, our party insists on the investigation of the atrocities of the few bad elements in our security architecture to serve as a deterrent.
“Our party therefore urges all well-meaning Nigerians to join in demanding that the ICC immediately commence the investigation of the tenure of the outgoing service chiefs for crime against humanity in our country,” the statement read.