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ICC Verdict And EndSARS Killings

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By Kolawole Anthony PhD

The EndSARS protest in Nigeria has indeed brought to the fore on how some individuals and groups can fuel crisis through covert means. In the case of Nigeria, we were confronted with this challenge so much so that Nigeria almost gave in. These merchants of violence deployed their entire arsenal towards ensuring that the once peaceful protest degenerates into a snowball of fire that almost engulfed Nigeria.

What happened in Nigeria wasn’t a peculiar case as there are several examples of other African countries that went through this route, and the resultant consequences were not pleasant. This was the case that eventually led to the involvement of the International Criminal Court (ICC) in charging some individuals for crimes against humanity for orchestrating acts of genocide.

Since the inception of the International Criminal Court more than a decade ago, only Africans have been brought to trial. The ICC, which began hearing cases at The Hague in the Netherlands in 2002, was established as a court of last resort, to prosecute grave abuses when countries would not or could not act against those responsible.

Of the ten preliminary examinations that have proceeded to full investigations, nine have involved conflicts in Africa. But the court’s lead prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, points out that in six of the cases, the ICC intervened at the request of the governments involved.

For example, Bahr Abu Garda was indicted on 7 May 2009 on three counts of war crimes concerning the situation in Darfur, Sudan. Abu Garda was alleged to have been a commander of a splinter group of the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), a rebel group fighting in the Darfur conflict against the Sudanese government.

He was accused of leading JEM forces under his command (in conjunction with other rebel forces) in a raid on the Haskanita base of the African Union Mission in Sudan (AMIS) on 29 September 2007, in which 12 AMIS peacekeepers were killed, and eight were seriously injured; the base was also extensively damaged. Abu Garda was accused of being criminally responsible for murder, pillaging, and “intentionally directing attacks against personnel, installations, materials, units and vehicles involved in a peacekeeping mission.

Germain Katanga was indicted on 2 July 2007 on three counts of crimes against humanity and six counts of war crimes with regard to the situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). On 26 June 2008, the charges were revised to four counts of crimes against humanity and nine counts of war crimes. He was alleged to have been the leader of the Front for Patriotic Resistance in Ituri (FRPI), an armed group composed mostly of members of the Ngiti ethnicity that was active during the Ituri conflict.

Joshua Sang was indicted on 8 March 2011 on four counts of crimes against humanity with regard to the situation in the Republic of Kenya. He is alleged to a top leader of an ad hoc organization created by members of the Kalenjin ethnic group which was created to perpetrate violence on behalf of the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM), the political party of presidential candidate Raila Odinga, during post-election violence in December 2007 and January 2008. As a broadcaster for the Kass FM radio station, Sang incited Kalenjin youths to target civilians of the Kikuyu, Kamba, and Kisii ethnic groups, which were perceived to be supporters of the Party of National Unity, the political party of Odinga’s opponent during the election.

The case of Joshua Sang shares some resemblance in Nigeria where some individuals resorted to using the social media to incite the people against the government and in the process violence erupted that led to the loss of lives, destruction of public and private properties, looting of warehouses, looting of banks and other despicable acts.

It must be noted that there is a trend in those convicted in the sense that they are mostly members of the opposition that deployed unorthodox means towards attempting to effect a change a government. If we recall, after the EndSARS protesters demanded the total reform of the Nigerian Police Force under a five-point demand, it subsequently transformed into the demand for the ousting of President Muhammadu Buhari from office.

If we must admit, this was where things went awry because there was no justification for the additional demands made by the protesters. This is on the heels that the government had initially granted the five demands of the protesters. And what was responsible? The propagation of fake news through social media, as well as faulty and unfounded accusations, deliberated peddled by the likes of Femi Falana in the public space.

I must add that Femi Falana for one as a lawyer either by omission or commission disregarded all known decorum in his public utterances as an individual and through his group, the Alliance for Surviving COVID-19 and Beyond, wherein inciting statements were made against the Nigerian Military and the government.

This action, to a large extent, contributed to the escalation of violence in the country hence the need for the Femi Falana to submit himself to International Criminal Court for arbitrarily inciting acts of violence in Nigeria. Consequently, the ICC must act in bringing the likes of Femi Falana to account for inciting violence in Nigeria.

The case of Félicien Kabuga, the Hutu financier of Rwanda’s 1994 genocide, captured after 26 years in hiding, is fresh in our minds and should serve as a deterrent to those fueling conflicts.

Kolawole is a University teacher and wrote from Keffi.

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Lekki Shooting: CNN Carried Out A Hatchet Job On The Army – International Journalists

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The report by Cable News Network (CNN) on the shooting at the Lekki toll gate in Lagos was a “poor” hatchet job targeted at the Nigerian Army, the International Institute for Investigative Journalism (IIIJ) has said.

In an electronic statement signed by special rapporteur, Francois Deburoiche, on Wednesday, the IIIJ said it came to this conclusion following a careful investigation on the events that led to the escalation of violence at the toll gate.

After forensic analysis of CNN’s report, the International Institute for Investigative Journalism noted that there were some missing details in the American television channel’s piece.

According to the institute, the report was carried out in poor taste, lacking professionalism and objectivity. It added that the claim of use of live bullets and testimonies of victims were all tales.

The institute, however, advised the television channel to retract and admit error in the documentary.

Read the full statement below:

The International Institute for Investigative Journalism is issuing this press statement with the best of intents after a careful investigation on the events that led to the escalation of violence at the Lekki Tollgate in Lagos Nigeria during the EndSARS protest.

A team of investigative journalists with extensive experience in conflict situation interrogated the various claims made by the American Cable News Network in its report on the Lekki Shootings and came up with a comprehensive analysis that found gaps that were not filled in the CNN documentation of the events at the Lekki Tollgate in Lagos Nigeria.

Our statement:

The CNN documentary on the EndSARS protest in Nigeria was released to the general public with lots of inaccuracies. These accuracies were detected after an extensive forensic investigation by the International Institute for Investigative Journalism.

It is thus our opinion that the report was carried out in the poor taste, lacking in professionalism and objectivity. This is a great betrayal on journalism by the CNN, which indeed violated the known tenets of journalism.

The videos and images used in the CNN report were not subjected to adequate scrutiny. Consequently, it lacked credibility for use by an organization of repute such as the CNN. This fact was also buttressed by the fact that the CNN report was very hasty in its conclusion by indicting the Nigerian Army of culpability in the events at the Lekki Tollgate.

Our position remains that the CNN erred substantially in its report that was highly misleading to the general public in Nigeria and other parts of the world. The documentary also failed woefully to highlight the events that led to the reign of violence in parts of Lagos state but instead rehashed the issues under different subheadings with minimal evidence that indicts the Nigerian Army of wrongdoing at the Lekki Tollgate.

The International Institute for Investigative Journalism concludes that the CNN documentary was prejudiced in its analysis as well as presentation which fall nothing short of a poor hatchet job with the undeniable intent to discredit the Nigerian Army operation at the Lekki Tollgate in Lagos Nigeria.

The analysis by CNN in the documentary was hasty in its categorization with regards to the use of live bullets by soldiers at the Lekki Tollgate. The report attempted to portray the use of excessive force by soldiers, while the accompanying videos and images did not depict such.

The credibility of those interviewed in the documentary was also suspect with the choice of words and the facial and body expressions of the victims as well as their relatives. Thus much was revealed by forensic analysis as the emotions portrayed didn’t match their words.

Conclusion:

The International Institute for Investigative Journalism is of the considered opinion that the CNN carried out a hatchet job that is targeted at the Nigerian Army institution. We as a result of this classify the CNN documentary as highly misleading and with the capacity to cause disquiet in Nigeria.

The CNN must retract and admit error in submission in its documentary on the Lekki Tollgate shootings. The International Institute for Investigative Journalism faults the CNN documentary in all ramifications.

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Why Army is Boosting Land Power, Buratai Speaks at War College Lecture

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The Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt. Gen. Tukur Yusuf Buratai, has said that the Army War College Nigeria (AWCN) has continued to churn out highly-capable operational commanders, with a very good understanding of operational art and the requisite skills for the effective application of land power.

Buratai, was the special guest of honour at the ‘Graduation Lecture’ of Course 4/2020, in Abuja. The COAS, who had earlier commissioned the War College Office Extension Building, further said the building is made up of offices, Central Auditorium with 450 seating capacity, a lecture hall and a lounge with 180 and 120 seating capacity, respectively.

According to Lt. Gen. Buratai, the War College was conceived to address the observed gaps in the professional military education of Army’s personnel at operational level. The Commandant of AWCN, Maj. Gen. SE Udounwa, expressed gratitude to the Army Chief for tirelessly supporting the College, especially in the area of infrastructural development.

The AWCN was established in 2017 to bridge the gap between the tactical and strategic level training by producing well trained, educated and inspired operational level leaders for the Nigerian Army.

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Army Neutralize 23 Terrorists, 6 Soldiers Wounded

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Troops of Operation Fire Ball, a subsidiary of Operation Lafiya Dole, has neutralized 23 Boko Haram/ISWAP while one terrorist’s Improvised Explosive Device (IED) expert was captured alive during a recent encounter.

The operations in the last 3 weeks of this month according to Brig. Gen. Benard Onyeuko has proved to be a significant period against the criminals during which 2 women and 3 children were rescued unhurt while the gallant troops courageously intercepted some Boko Haram criminals while attempting to collect ransom from relations of their abducted victims leading to the decimation of the criminals.

The Ag Director Defence Media Operations revalealed that as a result of the aggressive offensive actions carried out by the troops, several terrorist elements have been neutralized and large number of their equipment were captured including large quantity of their logistics consignment intercepted by the gallant troops.

Items intercepted are; 4 Gun Trucks, one Fabricated Vehicule Blinde Leger, 2 Anti Aircraft Guns, one General Purpose Machine Gun, 2 PKT Guns, 8 AK 47 Rifles, 2 AK 47 Rifle Magazines, one AK 47 Rifle Cover and one Dane Gun.

Furthermore, large cache of ammunition were also captured. This include: 18 rounds of 7.62 x 51mm, 4 rounds of Brownie Machine Gun ammunition, one Rocket Propelled Grenade Tube, One 36 Hand Grenade, 23 belted rounds of 7.62 x 54, One QJC Extra Barrel, 311 rounds of 7.62mm NATO ammunition (Linked), 511 rounds of PKT ammunition, 8 rounds of Light Machine Gun ammunition, One Service Tools Box,

One gas cylinder (for making IED), 8 bicycles, several bags of grains and assorted packets of drugs. Other assorted non lethal items were also captured from the criminals.

Unfortunately, Onyeuko said, 6 gallant soldiers were wounded in action over the period. However, the wounded soldiers have since been evacuated to a military medical facility and are currently responding positively to treatment.

He assured the entire populace of the North East region of the Nigerian military high command determination to finally rout the remnants of Boko Haram/Islamic State’s West Africa Province criminals from their enclaves in this zone.

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