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ICC’S Bark Worse Than Its Bite

Our opinion editorial in December 2022 highlighted the heinous crimes committed by the Nigerian military in regard to forced abortions of babies fathered by insurgents such as the notorious Boko Haram. Human Rights Foundation Nigeria, other non-governmental organizations, and the United States government condemned the actions of the military.

Furthermore, pressure is now building on the International Criminal Court (ICC) in the Hague, Netherlands, to investigate allegations of other war crimes committed during President Buhari’s administration. On December 11, 2020, the ICC  announced the completion of its preliminary examination into the alleged killings by the Nigerian military of several innocent individuals under the guise of fighting Boko Haram insurgents.

An Amnesty International (AI) report identified brutal crackdowns by the Nigerian military of the Indigenous people of Biafra (IPOB), a few Yoruba self-determination groups, and the massacre of innocent youths and protesters at the Lekki Toll Gate on October 2020. AI claimed most of the people killed were buried in mass graves.
Despite the reports and the ICC invoking a request for authorization from its Pre-Trial Chamber to open an investigation, civil societies are concerned about the lack of cooperation from the Nigerian government.

“We know that the authorities in Nigeria have been shielding some persons that aided human rights violations in various capacities. Some of these persons were appointed to cover their atrocities while in office. This is a worrisome trend and an indictment on the Muhammadu Buhari administration as complicit in the whole episode,” stated an anonymous source, according to Sahara Reporters.

AI and other civil societies are disappointed in the efforts of the ICC to bring justice so far. Hence, The ICC is hoping the next administration will be responsible and rational in its efforts to rid itself of the stains of the Buhari regime and regain human rights credibility with the international community.

That said, it will be safe to presume the ICC is either ignorant of the Nigerian political dynamics or does not grasp the cabal’s formidable ability to shield violators and government officials while outmaneuvering previous administrations.
So far, the ICC seems to be on a utopian quest but has resolved that its gamble will pay off soon.    
Previously, HRF facilitated the bail release of indigent client, Ephraim Yakwaan on May 26, 2022, in Ondo State, after awaiting trial and incarcerated for 7 months. On December 29, 2022, HRF concluded the case after Mr. Yakwaan was discharged and acquitted.

L-R: Ephraim Yakwaan, and HRF Legal Associate, B.C. Obilor. 
HRF facilitated the release of indigent client, Musa Haruna , on December 31, 2022, at the Magistrate Court, Ogba, Lagos State, after awaiting trial and incarcerated for 13 months. The case was struck out for want of diligent prosecution.

L-R: Musa Haruna, and HRF Legal Associate, Ni’mah Ali. 
Human Rights Foundation, Nigeria (HRF) is a registered charity (CAC/IT/No 21140) that advocates for the rights of  individuals accused of an offense and the provision of legal representation regardless of class, status, gender and religion.  Read more…..

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