The Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) has claimed that the killing of about 185 people, in Baga, Borno State, “may constitute crimes against humanity which should attract the attention of the International Criminal Court (ICC).”
According to the opposition party, the federal government should be investigated by the ICC because it is “either unwilling or unable to prosecute those involved, going by precedence.
“Either unwilling or unable to prosecute these crimes, despite the deceptive assurances by those at the helm, hence the ICC must immediately beam its search-light on the situation in Nigeria.”
The party made this known in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Lai Mohammed, on Thursday, where the party argued that “far beyond the justifiable call for a judicial commission of inquiry into the Baga massacre, it is time for leaders under whose watch these killings are being perpetrated, to be held to account.”
The ACN noted that “the killings in Baga, like previous ones in the areas where Boko Haram and the military Joint Task Force (JTF) have been engaged in clashes, are undoubtedly a widespread or systematic attack against a civilian population – the definition of crimes against humanity which is one of the four groups of crimes under the jurisdiction of the ICC.”
Noting that similar large scale extra judicial killing that occurred in Odi in Bayelsa State and Zaki-Biam in Benue State occurred before 1 July 2002, when the Rome Statute setting up the ICC came into force, ACN argues that “the killings in the north, especially at Baga, fall within the temporal jurisdiction of the global court.”
The party blamed President Goodluck Jonathan, for the Baga killings for “failing to distinguish between support for security agencies battling the insurgents in the north and the incitement of the same forces against civilians who are caught in the cross fire.”
”When the President issued his tactless vituperation against community leaders, and by extension hapless civilians, during his visit to Borno and Yobe States, we warned that he was further victimising the victims of the insurgents’ attack. That action helped to set the stage for the mindless massacre in Baga,” the party said.
It is estimated that about 3,000 lives have being claimed in the violent insurgency which started in 2008, following the killing of Boko Haram’s leader by Nigeria’s security operatives.
According to the ACN, those engaged in the killings, including the Boko Haram sect, “cannot and must not get away with these heinous crimes” the party insisted.
It also noted the only reasons that the killing and maiming of innocent citizens have continued unabated in Nigeria is because such killings in the past as in Odi and Zaki Biam, went unpunished.
”Enough is enough! Even in countries at war, innocent citizens are not being daily mowed to death either by insurgents or state forces, as we are experiencing in Nigeria. It is clear that the Nigerian government is” the party declared.
Meanwhile, the ACN has urged the National Assembly to investigate how troops from foreign countries became part of the JTF troops battling the insurgents in the north
The party said this is important to find out who authorized the deployment of foreign troops in Nigeria and what their mandates are.
”We know that international troop deployments are authorized at sub-regional, continental or global levels. It is therefore important to find which body authorized the deployment of foreign troops to Nigeria, the same troops that are now said to have participated in killing and maiming of innocent Nigerian citizens,” it said.