The Centre for Human Rights and Anti-Corruption Crusade (CHURAC), a sociopolitical group, has submitted a petition to the International Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherlands.
The group calls for the prosecution of Nigeria’s former President Muhammadu Buhari and Central Bank of Nigeria Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele, on alleged charges of “crime against humanity.”
In a five-page petition dated June 4, 2023, CHURAC urged the ICC to use its power under Article 15 of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court to investigate Buhari and Emefiele.
The group argues these officials should be held accountable for policies they initiated and implemented while in office in Nigeria.
CHURAC’s main issue with the duo revolves around the redesign of the Nigerian 200, 500, and 1000 naira notes, with a January 31, 2023 deadline for the use of old naira notes.
The group notes that this decision sparked widespread criticism, with financial experts globally, including the International Monetary Fund, suggesting the timing of the policy would harm the Nigerian economy, causing hardship to Nigerians.
According to CHURAC, Nigeria’s Minister of Finance, Budget, and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, stated on October 28, 2022, the Central Bank of Nigeria did not consult her Ministry on the policy. Ahmed warned that the Currency Swap Policy could further damage the Nigerian economy.
Despite these warnings, Buhari confirmed on October 30, 2022, that he fully supported the Central Bank’s decision to redesign the naira notes.
“The former president further declared on November 10, 2022, that there’s no going back on the redesign of naira notes in spite of the apparent and identified demerits in the Policy,” CHURAC recalled in their petition.
In its petition to the ICC, CHURAC stated, “The action of the duo of Mr Godwin Emefiele and former President Buhari has flagrantly violated the fundamental rights of Nigerians entrenched in international laws.”
They believe the officials’ actions constitute a crime against humanity under Article 7 of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.
As a result, CHURAC is requesting a comprehensive investigation of the policy’s effects, stating, “Many Nigerians are still suffering and yet to recover from the adverse effects of the inimical currency swap policy.”
They hope the ICC’s involvement will serve as a deterrent for other leaders who might contemplate policies that could infringe on the rights of their citizens.