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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Group Announces Rally In Support Of President Buhari, Nigeria’s Unity
The National Rebirth Movement (NRM) has announced a mega rally to show solidarity with President Muhammadu Buhari and the unity of Nigeria.
The group, in a statement signed by its Publicity Secretary, Usman Abubakar, on Monday, said the rally is scheduled for Tuesday, December 1 at the Unity Fountain, Abuja.
According to Abubakar, the march is to set the records straight and garner support for the laudable efforts of President Buhari in addressing the myriads of challenges facing the country.
The group added that it also intends to send a strong message to those against the interest of the nation to have a rethink and retrace their steps in the overall interest of peace and stability of Nigeria.
The National Rebirth Movement, however, called on all well-meaning Nigerians to come out in their numbers to join the exercise.
Read the full statement below:
The National Rebirth Movement wishes to inform members of the general public of a mega rally in support of the Muhammadu Buhari Administration slated for 1st December 2020 at the Unity Fountain in FCT-Abuja.
The exigencies of time indeed require that a precise and unambiguous message be sent to those individuals and groups plotting to discredit the Muhammadu Buhari led administration in its quest for a better Nigeria that we would all be proud of.
The National Rebirth Movement sees this rally as highly imperative to set the records straight and garner support for the laudable efforts of President Muhammadu Buhari in addressing the myriads of challenges facing the country.
We are indeed aware that there is a grand conspiracy against the Muhammadu Buhari administration from both internal and external sources which has come in the form of propagation of fake news, undermining and discrediting efforts of our the security agencies and other acts of economic and socio-political sabotage.
The rally is also intended to send a strong message to those that have elected to be against the interest of the country to have a rethink and retrace their steps in the overall interest of peace and stability in the country.
The National Rebirth Movement wishes to inform those external forces as well as their internal collaborators that democracy shall continue to thrive in Nigeria, and the unity of Nigeria remains sacrosanct. It is thus our responsibility as discerning Nigerians to rally support for the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari in this critical point of our existence as a country, hence this rally.
The rally shall accommodate Nigerians from all walks of life and various regions in the country in solidarity not just for the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, but also for the unity of our great nation.
We shall be rolling out the drums to send a strong message to the international community, especially those that are acting against the interest of the country to jettison such ideas because Nigerians are solidly behind the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari in its quest to make Nigeria the country of our dreams.
We are also using this medium to call on all well-meaning Nigerians to come out in their numbers to join the rally for the unity and continued peace and stability in Nigeria under the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.
The National Rebirth Movement is also using this medium to reiterate that the Muhammadu Buhari administration is in the best interest of Nigeria and as such Nigerians would resist any move by individuals or groups, as well as external forces working for the downfall of the administration.
This rally is one out of a series of events lined up by the National Rebirth Movement in support of the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari and the Unity of Nigeria.
Opposition Sponsoring Violence In Nigeria To Discredit Buhari Govt-DCN
The Democratic Coalition of Nigeria (DCN) has raised the alarm over what it termed the way, and manner members of the opposition have “continually initiated moves to undermine the sovereignty of Nigeria through the sponsorship violence across the country.”
The group stated that the wave of violence across the country is indeed the handiwork of those that are hell-bent on truncating democracy in Nigeria in fulfilment of their desire to discredit the present administration in spite of its lofty plans and policies towards translating the hopes and aspirations of Nigerians into tangible realities.
Kolade Christopher, the Publicity Secretary of the group, in a statement on Monday, noted that those behind violent activities are indeed staunch supporters of the former presidential candidate of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
DCN therefore called on the government to do all within its means to bring the perpetrators of violence in the country to book for their nefarious activities pointing out that no individual is bigger than the country.
He said, “It is the considered opinion of the Democratic Coalition of Nigeria (DCN) that the former presidential candidate has refused to come to terms with reality since his electoral loss in the 2019 general elections and since then, he has not relented in his blind pursuit to make the country ungovernable.
“It is also a statement of the fact that indeed these unscrupulous elements and enemies of Nigeria appear to be in frequent touch with members of the Boko Haram/ISWAP terrorist group, armed bandits and other criminal gangs whose activities have indeed heightened insecurity in the country.
“The Democratic Coalition of Nigeria (DCN) therefore wishes to inform members of the general public that the ferociousness of these unscrupulous elements is now pronounced after the failure of the EndSARS protest to disintegrate Nigeria.
“The reality of times is indeed worrisome and should give all well-meaning Nigerians a cause to worry due to the active plot to undermine the sovereignty of Nigeria by all means available including the propagation of fake news and the sponsorship of acts intended to cause disaffection in the polity and set the country on fire.
“Nigerians must indeed be aware that revelations from the sponsorship of the #EndSARS protest have indeed put these elements on the hot seat. As such, they have elected to work on the minds of the generality of the public by making wild allegations with regards to the efforts of the government towards addressing the security challenges in the country.
“The Democratic Coalition of Nigeria (DCN) is using this medium to send a note of warning to members of the opposition to desist from their despicable plot to undermine the sovereignty of Nigeria. It is also a shame that a former vice president can elect to be aggressively against the interest of the country.
“Nigerians must also be aware that those constantly parading themselves as democrats before the general public are those aggressively fuelling violence in the country for their selfish interest, not minding whose ox is gored.
“The Democratic Coalition of Nigeria (DCN) states that Nigerians must realize that the efforts of the government have been most proactive and as such all hands must be on deck in ensuring that the enemies of Nigerian do not have their way in the plot towards undermining Nigeria.
“We are also using this medium to charge the various security agencies to continue to render invaluable services to the country by ensuring that the activities of non-state actors are adequately addressed in the overall interest of the country.”
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