The International Criminal Court has not assisted Nigeria to investigate the 96 financiers of terrorist groups, Boko Haram and the Islamic State of West Africa Province (ISWAP). Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU), in 2020-2021, revealed 96 financiers of terrorism in Nigeria, NFIU had intelligence exchanges on Boko Haram, ISWAP, banditry, kidnapping and others with 19 countries. 424 associates and supporters of the financiers were also uncovered. But ICC is investigating the Nigeria military that is fighting terrorists over human rights violations.

There is evil coalition between ICC, terrorists and bandits against the Nigeria military. ICC has failed to open investigation on Boko Haram, bandits and various kidnapping groups that are terrorizing Nigerians. ICC is only investigating the Nigeria military that is fighting the terrorists. The International Criminal Court mandates have favoured terrorists and bandits in Nigeria because ICC has ignored investigation and trial of terrorists and bandits.

The ICC is an independent judicial institution empowered to investigate and prosecute war crimes, crimes against humanity, genocide, and the crime of aggression. Its establishment in 2002 signalled the commitment of many countries to fight impunity for the worst international crimes.
Currently, 123 countries are ICC members, giving the ICC authority, under its founding treaty, the Rome Statute, to investigate and prosecute crimes committed by their nationals or by anyone on their territory. As a matter of policy, the ICC prosecutor gives priority to cases against individuals who it determines are most responsible for the crimes under the court’s jurisdiction, regardless of their official position.

The Court’s founding treaty, called the Rome Statute, grants the ICC jurisdiction over four main crimes.

First, the crime of genocide is characterised by the specific intent to destroy in whole or in part a national, ethnic, racial or religious group by killing its members or by other means: causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group; or forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.

Second, the ICC can prosecute crimes against humanity, which are serious violations committed as part of a large-scale attack against any civilian population. The 15 forms of crimes against humanity listed in the Rome Statute include offences such as murder, rape, imprisonment, enforced disappearances, enslavement – particularly of women and children, sexual slavery, torture, apartheid and deportation.

Third, war crimes which are grave breaches of the Geneva conventions in the context of armed conflict and include, for instance, the use of child soldiers; the killing or torture of persons such as civilians or prisoners of war; intentionally directing attacks against hospitals, historic monuments, or buildings dedicated to religion, education, art, science or charitable purposes.

Finally, the fourth crime falling within the ICC’s jurisdiction is the crime of aggression. It is the use of armed force by a State against the sovereignty, integrity or independence of another State. The definition of this crime was adopted through amending the Rome Statute at the first Review Conference of the Statute in Kampala, Uganda, in 2010.

Nigeria has the highest number of out of school children in Africa, according to its former Minister of State for Education, Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba.
There are various reasons why Nigeria has so many children who are not getting any formal education, but in the last year there have been two leading causes: the COVID-19 pandemic and one of Nigeria’s longest-running problems — insecurity.

Since the infamous kidnapping of 276 girls from a school in Chibok, Borno state, in 2014 by the terrorist organisation Boko Haram, school attacks and kidnapping have steadily increased. And in the last two years, incidences have risen sharply.

On December 11, 2020, armed men kidnapped 300 boys from Government Science Secondary School in Kankara, Katsina state. They spent six nights with their abductors before they were released.

I am worried that the International Criminal Court, terrorists and bandits have formed a coalition against Nigeria Military. Under the watch of International Criminal court, Nigeria currently has 2.182 million Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) a reduction from the 2020 figure of 2.37 million which was the second highest number of IDPS since 2013. The allegation will have negative consequences on troops morale, interest in military service by Nigerians and severe set back to all our internal security operations in the country. Nigeria is fending off attacks on many fronts, not just from terrorists and bandits, but also from some human rights organisations and the International Criminal Court (ICC), which seem to have colluded to exacerbate the challenges facing the country in the area of security.

“While our security agencies continue to battle these bandits and terrorists, the ICC and some international human rights organisations, especially Amnesty International, have constituted themselves to another ‘fighting force’ against Nigeria, constantly harassing our security forces and threatening them with investigation and possible prosecution over alleged crimes against humanity and war crimes. Unfortunately, a section of the local media has been parroting these organisations without weighing the impact of their constant threats on the security of the nation.”
Multiple security threats in Nigeria leave civilians at imminent risk of mass atrocities, including growing attacks by armed groups commonly referred to as “bandits” and by the armed extremist groups Boko Haram and the so-called Islamic State in West Africa (ISWA). Since 2011 inter-communal violence, rooted in competition over scarce resources, has escalated in central and north-west Nigeria. According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, the deteriorating security situation has resulted in a humanitarian emergency, with more than 8.4 million people requiring urgent assistance.

Alongside persistent violence between herding and farming communities, armed banditry has expanded in north-west Nigeria. According to the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project, armed bandit groups killed more than 2,600 civilians in 2021, an increase of over 250 percent compared with 2020. Since January 2022 more than 250 people have been killed in attacks by armed bandits in Zamfara State. On 10 April more than 100 people were killed in attacks on several communities in the Kanam Local Government Area of Plateau State. The violence has displaced hundreds of thousands of people.

Violence perpetrated by Boko Haram and ISWA against civilian and military targets has also resulted in mass atrocities in northern Nigeria. During February 2022 ISWA perpetrated a series of attacks in Borno State, killing at least 25 civilians. More than 35,000 people have been killed in northern Nigeria since 2009 when Boko Haram launched its insurgency aimed at overthrowing Nigeria’s secular government and establishing an Islamic state. There are at least 2.2 million internally displaced persons in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe states while health services and education have been severely disrupted. These groups have also perpetrated attacks in neighboring countries, killing and displacing civilians in Cameroon, Chad and Niger.

According to a civic group, the Africa Centre for Human Rights, an extensive investigation has been carried out on the two former military chiefs and the centre has gathered sufficient evidence in a 500-page document to indict the former service chiefs at the ICC in The Hague, Netherlands. A former Chief of Army Staff, Lt Gen Tukur Buratai (retd) and his Nigerian Air Force counterpart, Air Marshal Sadique Baba Abubakar (retd) will soon face criminal charges at the International Criminal Court (ICC) over alleged human rights abuses and extra-judicial killings during their time as security chiefs.

A civil rights group, Concerned Nigerians, petitioned the Chief Prosecutor at the International Criminal Court Hague, Netherlands, Mrs. Fatou Bensouda, to investigate, arrest and prosecute the immediate past Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai (Rtd), for alleged crimes against humanity and the Nigerian people.

How does the fight against terrorists in Nigeria, constitutes crimes against humanity?

Inwalomhe Donald writes via [email protected]