from EMEKA OKONKWO in Abuja, Nigeria
ABUJA, (CAJ News) – THE Nigerian government has been dragged to the International Criminal Court (ICC) for alleged genocide in the southern regions.
A group of 22 international organisations have alleged the atrocities, with President Muhammadu Buhari, some military, police and other security officials among those cited as perpetrators.
The claims allege that these members of the Nigerian government are complicit in fostering genocide against the Yoruba people.
The complainants allege systematic rape and slaughter as part of a land annexation strategy being carried out by Fulani cattle herdsmen functioning as militia allegedly at the behest of the Nigerian government.
The complaint, filed with the International Criminal Court, accuses multiple members of the Nigerian government of genocide, torture and crimes against humanity among other charges.
“The state-sponsored terrorism against the Yoruba people has to stop,” said Aderemilekun Omojola, a New Jersey attorney who filed the complaint in The Hague.
“These so-called herdsmen are merely death squads with cattle. They terrorize with impunity and have done so since Muhammadu Buhari took power as president in 2015 and placed Fulani tribesman in key police, military and legal positions.”
Ethnic violence is prevalent in Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country with an estimated 212 million people.
The southern regions are mostly populated by Christians.
In 2016 the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights issued a statement on a reported slaughter of the Igbo people allegedly by armed Fulani herdsmen and associated militia in the south.
The UN noted that at least 40 people were reportedly killed.
The Nigerian government had communicated that it would investigate.
“The ICC must act now before this turns into Rwanda,” said Gani
Alagbala, spokesperson for the Yoruba Strategy Alliance.
The complaint awaits a decision by the Office of the ICC Prosecutor as to whether an official investigation will be opened.
– CAJ News