Northern coalition sues Buhari over 2011 post-polls violence
IT seems the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) General Mohammadu Buhari still has more challenges to confront in his bid to become the next president, as a team of civil society groups from northern Nigeria yesterday approached the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague, Netherlands to commence investigations on his involvement in the violence that followed the 2011 elections.
The group, under the auspices of Northern Coalition For Democracy and Justice (NCDJ) which had earlier filed its case at the ICC against Buhari in May 2011 said yesterday that it has engaged the services of an Amsterdam, Holland-based human rights lawyer, Professor Goran Sluiter to prosecute the APC presidential candidate at the ICC following alleged charges of sponsoring the post 2011 election killings in the North.
It would be recalled that over 800 people including National Youth Service Corp (NYSC) members lost their lives in some cities in northern Nigeria during the violent protests which followed the declaration of President Goodluck Jonathan as winner of the April 2011 presidential election, which the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) and General Buhari challenged the result at the tribunal.
Speaking at a media briefing yesterday on behalf of his clients in Abuja, the prosecutor, Goran Sluiters noted that he was filling his case against Buhari based on overwhelming evidence, which he has to believe that crimes against humanity were committed in the context of a politically motivated sectarian violence that followed the Nigerian presidential election of April 2011.
He noted that due to the seriousness of crimes and lack of adequate response by Nigerian authorities, the prosecutor of the ICC will be asked to conduct investigations into the alleged acts and in particular General Muhammadu Buhari, who he alleged perpetrated the crimes.
“Based on available evidence, there are compelling reasons to believe that crimes against humanity, including murder, torture, rape, forcible population transfer, persecution and inhuman acts were committed in the context of a politically motivated sectarian violence that immediately followed the April 2011 Nigerian presidential election. The evidence collected to date strongly suggests that the highly inflammatory public comments made by General Buhari prior to, during and immediately following the election led directly to the death of over 800 people and the displacement of more that 65,000 individuals in April 2011.”
“The electoral violence that has plagued Nigeria since its transition to democracy threatens to destroy the fundamental elements of democracy. Bringing those responsible for electoral violence to account would go a long way towards diminishing such threat and resorting faith and confidence in Nigeria’s political system. In this regard, the NCDJ represents the aspiration of all Nigerians who look forward to a day when their country’s politicians regardless of their party, faith, ethnicity or geographic affiliation can refrain from the kind of hateful and sectarian rhetoric that inevitably leads death, destructions and displacement.” Sluiters noted.
Earlier, the General Secretary of the Northern Coalitions group, Umar Farouk noted that the case was instituted devoid of partisan colouration and that, “the state of Nigeria’s sick legal system and Orwellian conduct of some of the men in the temple of justice in the country necessitated our resolve to facilitate the prosecution at the jurisdiction of the ICC prosecutors as it is to engender confidence and fair hearing for all parties involved.”