$9.3 Arms Deal: Group drags Nigerian govt. to International Criminal Court

Former President, Goodluck Jonathan

Nigeria’s President Goodluck Jonathan and members of his cabinet may be forced to a trial at the International Criminal Court, ICC, for ‘complicity’ in the Boko Haram narrative following a non-profit group’s application demanding a United Nations probe.

The United State-based Nigerian group, #NigeriaUnite, in a petition sent to the UN Secretary General on September 25, demanded that the United Nations step in to investigate and ultimately prosecute Nigerian state actors for involvement in the shady $9.3 million arms deal with an unlicensed South African gun runner.

The money is currently held by the South African government on suspicion it was laundered.

The group also wants the ICC to investigate Nigerian politicians who have been named as sponsors of the Boko Haram sect, as well as human rights violations by state actors battling the insurgents in northern Nigeria – the Nigerian security forces have also been indicted by international organisations for violating rights of citizens while claiming terror war.

“The United Nations, as a global body for peace and security must take urgent and holistic measures to investigate these issues for the peace and security of a population that is unjustifiably placed under siege and indiscriminately attacked and displaced,” the group’s petition which has been acknowledged by the UN read in part.

Since Boko Haram began its deadly insurgency in 2010, more than 10,000 Nigerians – mostly civilians, women and children – have been murdered while hundreds of thousands have been displaced.

The group alleges that the Nigerian government have been “lacklustre” in confronting the insurgents, and has in most cases denied the gravity of the challenge, leaving many communities in agony, trauma and devastation.

No trust

A leading member of the group, Solomon Dalung, told PREMIUM TIMES they petitioned the United Nations because of the Jonathan’s administration low trust quotient.

“We can no longer trust the government to investigate and deliver justice,” Mr. Dalung, also a member of the Northern Elder’s forum said. “We are convinced that there is something sinister going on in the government.”

He argued that government’s complicity in the Boko Haram narrative is emphasized by the President’s inability to act on a report by its Boko Haram negotiator, Stephen Davies, that indicted a top member of the ruling People’s Democratic Party, Ali Modu Sheriff, and a former Chief of Army Staff, Azubuike Ihejirika, as sponsors of the sect.

The Rome Statute – the treaty establishing the International Criminal Court – stipulates that the ICC can step in to investigate and prosecute crimes bordering on genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and the crime of aggression if a government is unwilling or unable to investigate.

The group argues that Boko Haram’s trajectory is a crime against humanity and that the Nigerian government’s “refusal” to investigate and prosecute sponsors of the group leaves justice in the hands of ICC.

The petition will be subjected to hearings and investigations before the ICC presses charges.

The Kenyan president, Uhuru Kenyatta, is currently facing charges including genocide and crimes against humanity at the ICC.

The Nigerian president’s office could not be reached for comments. Telephone calls to his spokesman, Reuben Abati, were neither answered nor returned.

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