The Federal Government of Nigeria has slammed the International Criminal Court (ICC) and Amnesty International (AI) over calls for investigation into possible war crimes by Nigeria’s security forces.
Naija News reports that operatives of the Nigerian Army had on October 20, 2020 opened fire on peaceful #EndSARS protesters, with many accusing the military of carrying away bodies of those gunned down.
Recall that CNN had, in a two-part report backed with pictures and video clips, implicated the Nigerian Army in the alleged killing of peaceful protesters at the Lekki tollgate.
The American-based network also rubbished claims by the Nigerian Army fired blank bullets at EndSARS protesters.
Speaking at a press conference on Monday, Nigeria’s Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, described the Lekki shooting as a “massacre without bodies”.
Lai Mohammed warned that the action of the ICC, AI and others could “distract the troops from fighting insurgents in the country”.
The minister described those that have condemned President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration’s approach in managing human rights concerns as threats to the nation’s security.
He said: “While our security agencies continue to battle these bandits and terrorists, the ICC and some international human rights organizations, especially Amnesty International, have Amnesty International 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.”
“Nigeria did not join the ICC so it can become a pawn on the court’s chessboard. It beggars belief to see that a nation that is fighting an existential war against bandits and terrorists is constantly being held down by an international body which it willingly joined. Nigeria is a sovereign state and will not surrender its sovereignty to any organisation,” Lai Mohammed added.
“ICC, Amnesty International and their cohorts should desist from threatening our troops and putting the security of our country in jeopardy. Enough is enough. It is sad that these organizations mostly rely on fake news and disinformation to reach their conclusions, as witnessed during the Endsars protest when CNN – an otherwise respected global news network – went to town with fake news of a massacre.
“As it turned out, it was a massacre without bodies. As you are aware, we called CNN out and also petitioned the network.”
The Office of Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) had pinpointed 10 possible cases of human rights violations and war crimes in its end of the year report on preliminary examination activities.
It was gathered that the document does not provide specific allegations to be investigated by the court, however, stating that “there is sufficient evidence to be investigated by the ICC .”
The prosecutor’s office said the ICC had conducted a thorough investigation and investigated allegations of mass killings and abuse.