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Tuesday, 12 January 2016

Nigeria: Amsterdam lawyers to file complaint with ICC over 'Buhari's crimes against Biafrans'

Nigeria: Amsterdam lawyers to file complaint with ICC over 'Buhari's crimes against Biafrans'


A group of lawyers is planning to file a complaint before the International Criminal Court (ICC) against Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari on alleged human rights abuses targeting members of an ongoing pro-Biafran separatist movement.

Thousands of people – mainly from Igbo extraction – identify themselves as Biafrans, a term used to define people living in the Biafran territories forcibly annexed to present-day south-eastern Nigeria during the British colonization.

Since Nigeria gained independence in 1960, there have been movements calling for the independence of Biafra. In 1967, the declaration of an independent Republic of Biafra triggered a three-year-long civil war that caused millions of deaths.

Pro-Biafran calls have intensified since October 2015, following the arrest of Nnamdi Kanu, director of Radio Biafra and leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (Ipob). In spite of a High Court ruling in favour of his release, Kanu is being detained by the State Security Service (DSS) amid allegations of torture. One day after the ruling,officials pressed new charges against him.

Dutch lawyer and professor Göran Sluiter, who specializes in international criminal law, is leading the team that will file the complaint in February. Sluiter and his colleague Andrew Ianuzzi are working full time on the case, and are occasionally assisted by a team of 20 other lawyers.

Sluiter told IBTimes UK they have been representing the "Biafran minority" since Kanu's arrest in October.

"We have found evidence of some crimes directed against the Biafran minority in Nigeria," he said. "Violations include violence against demonstrators, torture, murder, enforced disappearances and incarcerations. There is a whole list of incidents and with Buhari coming into power, this is becoming more of a structured nature, exemplified by Kanu's arrest and how the government is dealing with demonstrations calling for Kanu's release."

Pro-Biafrans have often accused the police and army of unjustified violence against demonstrators. In one of the latest episodes of alleged violence, the army was accused of killing between four and 10 people who were celebrating the high court verdict on Kanu on 17 December. During several interviews with IBTimes UK, the Nigerian police have always denied the killings.

"In addition to information on public sources, I have conducted phone and Skype interviews with individual victims as we wanted to hear the first-hand evidence, " Sluiter said. "I also received pictures of victims of police violence during demonstrations. We will be presenting anonymous interviews with about 20,25 people, but there are many more victims.

"There has been a systematic denial of human rights of the Biafran people, who are oppressed by the government," he continued. "We hope that the ICC will bring justice to the victims with serious investigations and hopefully a trial. We also hope that Mr Kanu – whose treatment is symbolic of the treatment of the entire Biafran minority in Nigeria – will be released.

Government's response

When asked to comment on the allegations, Buhari's spokesperson Femi Adesina told IBTimes UK: "The lawyers have a right to their opinions. It does not make what they say gospel truth."

Referring to Kanu, Adesina said: "The President already spoke on the matter during the Presidential Media Chat of December 30." During the media chat, Buhari said Kanu and former security aide Sambo Dasuki – accused of stealing money aimed for the fight against Boko Haram terrorists – will not be freed in spite of High Court rulings in favour of their release.

In an interview with Radio Continental earlier in January, Adesina defended Buhari against allegations that he does not like the Igbos, one of Nigeria's largest ethnic groups.


He said: "When the President ran for political office in 2003, who was his running mate? Dr Chuba Okadigbo. And in 2007? Chief Edwin Ume-Ezeoke. If he hated Igbos would he run with them? That shows you the respect and the regard he has for Igbos, it was political reality that compelled him to come south-west in 2011 and in 2015."

Referring to development projects in the south-east, Adesina continued: "The second Niger bridge is on the budget in 2016. Let's recall that the last President [Goodluck Jonathan] sometime in 2011 said that he would complete that second Niger bridge before 2015. He didn't even go beyond the architectural drawing."

IBTimes UK also contacted Mike Omeri, a spokesperson for the Nigerian government, who denied any wrongdoing by the leadership. "No, the Nigerian government is not committing abuses, we reject such allegations. The government of Nigerians say individuals have the right to demand for anything, but without acting to sabotage the nation.

"The government recognises the rights of the Igbo men, but it will not just watch these freedoms and rights being trampled upon by a few people. Nigeria has had a civil war. The government and 99% of the people in Nigeria do not think that we should have another one."

Among reasons that led Biafrans to call for independence are what they perceive as government marginalisation, poverty, lack of infrastructure and job opportunities. However, Omeri said the government is working to address these issues affecting all the communities across the country.

"So who is marginalizing who? Who is sabotaging who? That is the question," he said. When asked about whether Kanu's prolonged detention was against the country's constitution, he said: "He is in court. The government does not interfere with the judicial process because it is a matter of civil rights. The government is not committing any abuse, what Buhari is doing is right."

SOURCE ibtimes.co.uk

10 comments

  1. THESE NIGERIAN GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS ARE LIARS WHO ARE SUPPOSED TO BE ELDERS AND GRAND FATHERS!... LEAVING NO LEGACY FOR UP COMING GENERATIONS EXCEPT LIES THAT KEEP ENSLAVING THEIR MINDS!

    THEIR LIES WILL FIND THEM OUT SOON!NIGERIA IS AN EVIL CONTRAPTION! EVIL AND WICKEDNESS IS THE ORDER OF THE DAY! THEY STEAL GOVERNMENT MONEY AND PRETEND TO BE SAINTS!THEY KILL TO GET TO POWER AND PRETEND TO BE SAINTS! THEY KILL BIAFRANS OPENLY AND SECRETLY, AND DENY, PRETENDING TO BE SAINTS!

    THEIR MEDIA ENCOURAGE THESE EVILS BY THEIR BROWN ENVELOP GUTTER WATER REPORTAGE!

    LET THE LAWYERS GO AHEAD TO ICC,FOR SURELY,THE GOD OF THE BIAFRANS,CHUKWUABIAMA WILL GIVE US VICTORY! ISEE!

    ReplyDelete
  2. They can lie as they want, but we are in in technology knowhow era, where everything is visible from long distance. Every event and incident is under record and the world can see them it happened. So no need of covering up, do you want to tell us that Buhari has power over judiciary system to disobeyed court orders, or are you trying to deny the presence of police and army shooting innocent people that was even captured live, or those that were jubilating after court verdict.Nonsense, you will all go for it, you are mere spokes man. So until you all is brought before the panel, then we will show you evidence of your crime against freedom of expression and right of determination that you people abused.

    ReplyDelete
  3. THANKS VERY MUCH OUR LAWYERS FOR YOUR WORK AND DUTY. I HAVE WAITED SO MUCH TO HEAR THE CASE AT ICC BECAUSE BUHARI HAS DONE SO MUCH TO BIAFRA. BUHARI HAS KILL A LOT OF BIAFRA WOMEN, MEN AND CHILDREN. BUHARI HAS ABUSE THE RIGHT OF BIAFRA SO MUCH. THAT MAN DESERVE LIFE SENTENCE. BUHARI HAS MURDER NIGERIA JUDICIARY. BUHARI HAS ABUSE THE RIGHT OF NNAMDI KANU OF RADIO BIAFRA. BUHARI DESERVE LIFE SENTENCE. PLEASE professor Göran Sluiter AND Andrew Ianuzzi WITH 20 other lawyers. PLEASE SIR MAKE SURE THAT YOU PEOPLE TAKE THE CASE SO SERIOUS AND MAKE SURE THAT BUHARI IS SENTENCE LIFE IMPRISONMENT FOR HIS CRIME AGAINST HUMANITY. I PRAY THAT GOD OF BIAFRA AND LAND OF BIAFRA WILL GUARD YOU ALL. EVERY EVIDENCE BIAFRA GAVE ARE TRUTH AND NOT LIE. BIAFRA ARE NOT A LIAR AND CAN NOT LIE. ADESINA GOD OF BIAFRA WILL KILL YOU. AND LAND OF BIAFRA WILL ALSO ELIMINATE YOU WITH YOUR FAMILY. BIG LIAR. NO WONDER KANU SAID THAT NIGERIA FOUNDATION IS WITH LIAR AND EVIL. THAT IS WHY NO GOOD THING WILL BE SEEING IN THAT ZOO. YOU WHO SUPPORT EVIL BECAUSE BUHARI IS OFFER MONEY TO YOU. ADESINA WHO KILL OKADIGBO ? IDIOT. MAY GOD OF BIAFRA AND LAND OF BIAFRA DESTROY YOU AND YOUR FAMILY. EVIL MEN. LIKE Mike Omeri. I DO NOT HAVE ANYTHING TO TELL YOU THAN ALL OF YOU WHO ARE SUPPORT EVIL BECAUSE OF MONEY WHEN EVIL WILL BE FALL YOU DO NOT RUN. EVIL MEN. GOD OF BIAFRA AND BIAFRA LAND WILL DESTROY ALL THE ENEMY OF BIAFRA. FOOLISH PEOPLE.

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  4. Say no to corrupt Nation called Nigeria. Evil People and shameless old men. You will all die and rote in Hell. Free Nnamdi, Free BIAFRANS

    ReplyDelete
  5. Nwa chineke, Nwa BIAFRA you have indeed spoken well there's nothing hidden under This mother earth if the SUN does not shine on it the WIND will blow it forth and if the wind does not the EARTH will definitely throw it out, evil has many heads and can only be using those heads one after another, but at the end the will be last standing, we are BIAFRANS AND IT'S BIAFRA OR NOTHIN, CHUKWUOKIKEABIAMA WILL PREVAIL AT THE END, ALL HAIL BIAFRA

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  6. Nawa oo I wonder how Mike Omeri find nothing to be wrong in Buhari's rejection of court orders. Chai Nigeria, pls let's call a spade a spade

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  7. THE DIE IS CAST AND WE CANNOT WAIT TO SEE THAT BEAST OF DAURA AND HIS COHORTS DUCKED AT ICC TO EXPLAIN THEIR RIGHT TO VIOLATE THE COURT ORDER FOR THE RELEASE OF THE IPOB LEADER , DR. NNAMDI KANU. AS FOR THE ERRAND BOYS FEMI ADESINA AND MIKE OMERI THEIR DAMNATION WILL NEED NO DELAY. AND I SAY HUGE THANKS TO PROF GORAN AND HIS TEAM OF LAWYERS, IMPORTANT ALSO , UCHE MEFOR THANK YOU.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Do what ever you want if you can,whether you like it or not Mohd Buhari is a current nigeria president alright,why you dind't call for biafran during Jonathan government.You ibo people stop wasting your time & continues of in gagging yourself in business making as before. Dont you realized you almost dominated every Conner with the creation of small & large business investment within & even outside of the nation.Kindly please, be reasonable & thinkable to avoid anything which might cause you & other peoples in to big troubles alright.

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  9. I think ABK is another way of writing ABOKI..... just as expected.......

    ReplyDelete

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