By Mashe Umaru Gwamna
Corporate Accountability and Public Participation Africa (CAPPA) has commended the International Criminal Court (ICC) for concluding a decade-long preliminary investigation into crimes against humanity and war crimes allegedly committed by Boko Haram and the Nigerian security forces, to pave way for full investigation to commence.
The ICC Office of the Prosecutor had made the announcement on the Preliminary Investigations on December 11 and added that the Nigerian government has thus far failed in its obligations to hold those responsible to account.
In a statement issued in Lagos, CAPPA commended the ICC for the decision to probe the atrocities but also wants it to extend its probe to the #EndSARS Lekki shooting of 20 October 2020 which left scores dead and is being strenuously denied by the Nigerian army and police.
On 20 November CAPPA delivered a petition to the ICC which had signatures of 10,027 individuals and 154 organisations from 75 countries requesting a thorough investigation of the killings and prosecution of the identified individuals behind it. Among the signatories to the petition are two former UN special rapporteurs, several members of the United States Congress, and Cornell and Harvard University professors. A dozen notable international figures also voiced their solidarity with the movement for justice in Nigeria. CAPPA started the petition on October 23 following what it anticipated would be “unlikely outcomes” of the judicial panels set up to investigate the cases of rights abuses linked to SARS and government initiatives supposedly targeted at addressing the corruption in the system.
After the incident there have been disturbing daily reports of police arresting identified protesters from their homes, denying them access to their families, lawyers, and prominent supporters of the protests denied their right to travel out of the country and use of their accounts, among others.
CAPPA Executive Director, Akinbode Oluwafemi said: “While we commend the ICC for its quest to secure justice for victims of appalling crimes committed allegedly committed by all parties in the conflict in Northeast, the gruesome shootings in Lekki add another layer to the investigation they must conduct in Nigeria”.
“As we have said over time, these happenings are most unacceptable. Suddenly Nigerians are waking up to the reality that the civic space is shrinking. We are in firm belief that having acknowledged receipt of our petition, the ICC will swing into action”, Oluwafemi stated.