Convener of Concerned Nigerians Group, Deji Adeyanju, has said immediate past Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Buratai, and other service chiefs will answer for ‘their crimes against humanity and the genocidal acts they committed.’
The group had in January petitioned the International Criminal Court (ICC) over alleged human rights violations and crimes against humanity by the Army during Buratai’s tenure.
In the petition, the group had asked the ICC to investigate, arrest and prosecute Buratai to serve as a deterrent to others who have made it a point of duty to indiscriminately abuse citizens’ human rights in the country.
But President Muhammadu Buhari had nominated him alongside other immediate past service chiefs as non-career ambassadors.
“President Muhammadu Buhari has forwarded the names of the immediate past Service Chiefs to the Senate as non-career Ambassadors-Designate,” presidential aide, Bashir Ahmad, had disclosed in a tweet.
However, in an interview with SaharaReporters on Friday, Adeyanju said justice will be served despite the ambassadorial nominations of the immediate past service chiefs.
He said the group had been engaging the ICC for a long time and was confident that justice would be served.
He said: “We have got a response from the ICC, they are looking into it. We will not say much on this issue.
“Buhari thinks he’s smart, we are smarter, he is trying to shield Buratai from prosecution by conferring on him, some form of diplomatic immunity but I can assure you that it will not stand. He is only postponing the evil day; the inevitable is going to happen.
“Tukur Buratai and others will answer for their crimes against humanity and the genocidal acts they committed while they were service chiefs. For us, this is not the first time we are engaging the ICC, we have even testified before the ICC in 2017. There are so many things we are debating that we wouldn’t want to discuss at the moment but I tell you that at the end of the day, justice will be served.”
SaharaReporters recalled the Army under Buratai was on several occasions accused of various forms of human rights violations by Nigerians and international actors such as Amnesty International.
In 2015, over 600 Shia sect members in different locations controlled by their leader, Sheikh Ibrahim El- Zakzaky, in Zaria, Kaduna State were allegedly killed by soldiers.
The Army claimed its confrontation with the Shiites who had placed a makeshift roadblock near a mosque resulted from an assassination attempt on Buratai, whose convoy was passing by.
Amnesty International had also accused soldiers of raping female internally displaced persons (IDPs) in exchange for food and killing hundreds of persons in detention.
An unconfirmed number of peaceful #ENDSARS protesters were also killed by soldiers at the Lekki Toll Gate on October 20, 2020.