Intersociety, Onitsha, Eastern Nigeria
Thursday, 8 April, 2021
Nigeria Must Not Explode Under Your Watch: The new leaders of the International Criminal Court, comprising a new President, a new Vice President, a new Second Vice President and a new Chief Prosecutor must not allow Nigeria, an explosively populated country of over 200 million mixed citizens with over 370 ethnic nationalities, three most populated tribes and multi religiously-cum-culturally composed; to explode under their watch. This is because ICC was not created to ‘preside over holocaust or genocide’ or idly watch them being perpetrated by criminal and genocidal state actors or their non state actor counterparts or both, but to investigatively identify and smoke out ‘triggers’ of same such as profiteering triggers and perpetrators of crimes against humanity, war crimes, genocide and other internationally prohibited acts and have them objectively investigated, arrested, prosecuted and convicted and by so doing, secure justice, save lives and properties and prevent or checkmate such heinous crimes, punish their perpetrators and deter others.
Jihadists Must Not Be Allowed To Overrun Nigeria: The coming on board of the newly elected leaders of ICC comes at crucial time when every single diplomatic, political and justice effort is urgently needed to save Nigeria, already at the nadir of intractable explosion. The raw or stark truth, being effortlessly camouflaged and disguised both locally and internationally, is that Nigeria was over five years ago hijacked by state actor jihadists who masqueraded as ‘democrats’ and today, the jihadists have substantially if not totally seized state power and coercive instruments. Through the control of state power and coercive instruments including armed forces, open and spy police, the Nigerian state actor jihadists, both at the federal level and in northern Muslim controlled states have not only hijacked and structured the country’s security forces along ethno-jihadist lines but also ‘imported’ Sudanese modeled ‘Janjaweed’ jihadist affiliates and have them armed with sophisticated small arms and light weapons and moved into ancestral bushes, farmlands and forests belonging to indigenous ethnic nationalities of Christian and traditional religious faith.
At the full knowledge and support or conspiracy of the same Government in Nigeria, the jihadists are being assembled from within and beyond borders. These explain repeated warnings by the United States of steady assemblage and movement of ISIS, el-Qaida and their affiliates towards Christian held Southern Nigeria and in all these, the present Government of Nigeria has only responded by concocting more than 50 lies and disguises, since 2016 (commencement of the jihad project), to deceive and divert the attention of the international community and other watchers or actors. Under the watch and conspiracy of same Government, jihadist insurgencies have escalated and multiplied in numbers, reaching as high as 21 in this April 2021, from only four in June 2015. In all these, too, the jihadist elements within the country’s security forces and their leaderships as well as key actors in the country’s corridors of power are undeniably responsible for the escalation and multiplication.
Nigerian Humanitarian Crises Will Swallow The World: It is therefore long settled among conflict and security studies’ experts that in the event Nigeria explodes, not only that millions will perish and trillions of naira worth of properties lost, but also the humanitarian crises and catastrophes that will follow, will submerge or swallow the entire world and its major Continents particularly the Continents of Europe, North America, Southeast Asia, Gulf States and West, Central, North, Southern and East Africa. Signs of the country going into intractable explosion and implosion are steadily emerging from left, right and center. Already, there are irrefutable evidence of embryonic counter ethno-religious insurgencies speedily rearing their ugly heads in the Christian held Eastern Nigeria and in two years’ time or less, Southeast, South-south, Southwest and Christian held areas of North-central, Northeast (Taraba and Adamawa, etc) and Northwest (Southern Kaduna, etc) are likely to be home to motley of ‘indigeno-religious’ insurgencies or “Soldiers of Christ/Moses”. This is more so when the present Nigerian security forces are not only Muslim dominated and controlled but also widely perceived as “security forces of Fulani-Hausa Muslims”. The Muslim controlled security forces are also recklessly and calamitously breeding “citizens’ reprisal radicalism” by heightening their violent clampdowns and crackdowns on Christian citizens of Eastern Nigeria.
Election Of ICC Leaders Religiously And Racially Balanced: While heartily congratulating the new ICC Chief Prosecutor, Karim A. A. Khan QC, a British migrant Muslim lawyer, elected on 12th Feb 2021 and the trio of new ICC President, Judge Piotr Hofmanski from Poland, new First Vice President, Judge (Madam) Luz del Carmen Ibanez Carranza from Peru and Second Vice President, Judge Antoine Kesia-Mbe Mindua from Democratic Republic of Congo, elected for three years on 11th March 2021; Intersociety also strongly charges them to pick up the pieces and move the ICC solidly forward. The continental or racial, religious and gender composition of the new ICC team also gladdens our heart and blocks any excuse of bias on religious and racial grounds. This is further understood within the context of the fact that human rights and their respect and protection as well as their abuses and violations, go beyond tribes or religions or gender or color, having been endowed from birth.
Depart From The Inglorious Epoch Of Your Predecessors: The new ICC leaders must clearly depart from the inglorious epoch of their predecessors who not only failed woefully in the past three years but were also brazenly serving the interests of, and dining and wining with the same perpetrators of heinous crimes against humanity and society. The Nigerian born immediate past President of the Court, for instance, ended up spending and wasting his three years Presidency citing and reciting presidential speeches and scripts from Nigerian seat of power and jetting in and out of same. These he was busy doing while thousands of his country men and women including those of his own tribe were on the basis of their religion and ethnicity being persecuted and massacred by the country’s state actors and their affiliated non state actors. Intersociety is particularly happy that he was not returned or elected for second term.
Beyond Lifting Of Sanctions, US Must Negotiate And Join ICC: The lifting of sanctions including travel ban on key ICC officials by the Joe Biden Government of the United States is not only commendable but also timely and a right step in the right direction. The diplomatic and justice logjam between the US and ICC can only be effectively resolved through dialogue and shifting of grounds and not by confrontation or diplomatic row. One of the key policies or principles of ICC the United States must explore in resolving its areas of differences with ICC such as on ‘territorial jurisdictions’ is the ‘Principle of Complimentarity and Zero Impunity’. This is because ICC first allows any Member-State where atrocity crimes are committed or suspected to have been perpetrated to credibly and sufficiently address the atrocity crimes using its local justice sanctions and remedies including identifying, arresting, investigating, prosecuting and convicting the perpetrators and addressing the plight of the victims. We therefore call on the Government of the United States to go beyond ‘lifting sanctions’ against key ICC officials and enter into concrete negotiations with the Court and its new leaders so as to address and find common grounds on disagreeing areas and become a respected Member-State of the Court.
Signed For International Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law:
Emeka Umeagbalasi, M.Sc.,
Ndidiamaka Catherine Bernard, Esquire,
Head, International Justice and Human Rights
Chidimma Evan Udegbunam, Esquire,
Campaign and Publicity