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Biafrans Successfully file complaints against Buhari at ICC

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Pro-Biafra groups have successfully lodged war crimes complaint against President Muhammadu Buhari in The Hague.

Pro-Biafra groups have successfully lodged war crimes complaint against President Muhammadu Buhari in The Hague.

This was a follow-up to the heinous massacre of pro-Biafra protesters across the South-east and South-South in the wake of the arrest of the Indigenous People of Biafra [IPOB] leader, Nnamdi Kanu.

Goran Sluiter, a lawyer at Dutch human rights legal firm Prakken d’Oliveira, filed the complaint with the International Criminal Court in The Hague on Friday. 

According to Sluiter, there has been “an intensification of violence and crimes committed against Biafrans since Mr Buhari became the Nigerian president.”

“Nigeria is already a long time on the agenda of the [ICC] prosecutor and Nigerian courts are not dealing at all with these crimes. The time really has come for the ICC to act,” says Sluiter.

The complaint was filed on behalf of 17 unnamed victims and alleges to set out evidence of crimes against humanity – including torture and murder – committed by Nigerian security forces against pro-Biafran protesters.

More than 50 unarmed, non-violent protesters were gruesomely massacred across the region by security operatives including both army and police with about 200 people detained across the country.

Kanu, who also runs an anti-Nigeria radio station in the United Kingdom, was arrested by Nigerian security forces in October, 2015, on charges of ethnic incitement and sedition. 

He remains in detention and was refused bail by a federal high court in the capital Abuja as at 29th January when Justice John Tsoho declined his bail application.

Justice Tsoho said: “(Nnamdi) Kanu is a threat to national security, and as a result will not be granted bail”… “if released, Kanu may commit the same offence again, and that “there is a probability that he may jump bail because he possesses dual citizenship”, a clear case of prejudice.

During the demonstrations, the Inspector General of Police, Solomon Arase had threatened protesters in December to stop their activities or face “the full weight of the law.”

Ndubuisi Osuala, the coordinator of IPOB’s branch in the Netherlands – which he says numbers around 200 official members – says the group wishes to see Kanu released and Buhari prosecuted for overseeing crimes against Biafrans. 

“What every IPOB member, every Biafran citizen wants is the release of our great leader, Nnamdi Kanu, who is a freedom fighter,” says Osuala. 

“Secondly, we need the International Criminal Court to bring justice and equity to our case…[President Buhari] has to be prosecuted and face the justice for what he did.”

Osuala also says that his group wants independence for Biafra but is seeking it by peaceful means. “We need to get freedom by peace and that is why we are protesting,” he says. “We are not terrorists, we are not killing people.”

Buhari has previously refused calls for Kanu to be released, describing the activist – who is based in the U.K. and runs the underground media outlet Radio Biafra – as a flight risk.

The ICC was not immediately available to confirm that the complaint had been filed. Once a complaint is filed at the ICC, the prosecutor can decide to open an investigation if there is a reasonable basis for believing that crimes against humanity have been committed. 

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