Buhari in trouble as ICC concludes preliminary investigation into
Shiites massacre; continues probe of IPOB killings
The International Criminal Court is moving gradually towards
prosecution of Nigerian officials involved in the December 2015
massacre of members of Islamic Movements of Nigeria.
The office of the prosecutor at the war crimes tribunal reached its
preliminary conclusion into the killings in December 2017,
submitted its findings to the Nigerian government and demanded
explanations about the incident.
The ICC said the attack on IMN members, which was carried out
by the Nigerian Army and condemned by human rights voices
across the world, violated international statutes on human rights.
Also advancing at the ICC is its investigation into the gruesome
rights abuses and killings of members of separatist Independent
People of Biafra, IPOB.
The group has come under repeated assault by the Nigerian
security agencies since October 2015 when its leader Nnamdi Kanu
was arrested by the State Security Service in Lagos.
Mr. Kanu was later moved to Abuja where he had been standing
trial until September 2017 when he disappeared following a military
raid on his country home in Umuahia.
PREMIUM TIMES reported the extra-judicial killing and mass burial
of over 120 people in one of several attacks on pro-Biafra
supporters in May 2016 by security agencies, an incident described
as “a genocide” against the Igbo by IPOB leaders.
The ICC has submitted its preliminary findings on the Shiites
massacre to Attorney-General Abubakar Malami.
The ICC prosecutors said they relied on the different channels of
information, including the findings of the Judicial Commission of
Inquiry set up by the Kaduna State Government.
The panel had found several Nigerian Army officers culpable in the
killings and recommended them for prosecution, including Niyi
Oyebade, a major-general who was the Grand Officer Commanding
of the Nigerian Army 1 Division at the time.
The IMN said it lost more than a thousand members in the attack
that took place between December 12 and 14 at its headquarters in
A representative of the Kaduna State Government told the
commission of inquiry that 347 bodies were handed over by the
army for a secret mass burial.
But despite the evidence, the army claimed it killed only seven
Shiites who blocked a public road and attempted to assassinate its
chief, Tukur Buratai, a lieutenant general.
It said troops only used force after it became clear that Mr.
Buratai’s life was in danger.
The leader of the IMN, Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, who was arrested by
soldiers during the operation, has remained in the custody of the
State Security Service more than two years later — in defiance of
court orders that he should be released immediately in 2016.
If the ICC chief prosecutor ultimately gives an approval for a trial
to go ahead over the crimes, it would mark the first time a Nigerian
would be hauled to The Hague to stand trial for crimes against
But a foreign affairs analyst, Ikenna Nwegbe, said the conclusion
of investigation on the Shiites massacre might be a victory for
human rights campaigners, but not likely to have any significant
impact because of how Nigerian government views the allegations.
For one, Mr. Nwegbe said, the Nigerian government has failed to
hold anyone responsible for either the Shiite killings or the
atrocities against Igbo separatist agitators.
“Even in the case of Shiites massacre where a judicial panel
indicted a major-general, the government didn’t take any action
whatsoever,” Mr. Nwegbe said. “Mr. Oyebade is still in the Army
till date and even flourishing.”
“On the basis of this alone, it’s easier to conclude that the ICC
findings will hold no waters where the Buhari administration is
concerned,” Mr. Nwegbe said.
He also decried the fact that there has been no form of
compensation for the victims of the Shiites massacre or IPOB
killings, a situation he described as a critical aspect of resolving
the crises.
“No compensation has been paid to the Shiites or the victims of
attacks on IPOB,” he said. “Instead, their leaders are still in
custody despite repeated Nigerian court judgements.”
The analyst said a Nigerian government that has not obeyed
judicial pronouncements within its borders should not be expected
to cooperate with external authorities.
“At worse, Nigeria will pull out of the ICC,” Mr. Nwegbe said,
adding that the ICC is still being disregarded in the case of Omar
Al-Bashir, the Sudanese leader against whom an arrest warrant
has been pending since 2008 and African leaders have refused to


  1. Good post

  2. Ok

  3. hmmm

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