By Luminous Jannamike
ABUJA – A civil rights group, Concerned Nigerians, on Thursday, 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.
The group accused Buratai of complicity in the 2015 killing of over 300 Shi’ite Muslims in Zaria, hundreds of Biafran agitators, and scores of #EndSARS protesters at Lekki tollgate last October.
In the petition signed by its convener, Prince Deji Adeyanju, the group said prosecuting the retired Army Chief would serve as a deterrent to members of the Nigerian Armed Forces and their civilian collaborators who abuse citizens’ rights.
The petition reads, “We write to call on the International Criminal Court and all lovers of democracy and human rights in the world to immediately investigate, arrest and prosecute Lieutenant General Buratai (Rtd) who was just relieved of his duty as Chief of Army Staff for crimes against humanity and the Nigerian people.
“It will be recalled that sometime in 2015, Lieutenant General Buratai (Rtd) ordered members of the Nigerian army to kill over 300 defenseless Nigerian Shiite Muslims on the unjustifiable ground that they “touched a general’s chest”.
“That event has been appropriately tagged the Zaira massacre and it has further worsened the insecurity situation in Nigeria.
“Shortly thereafter, Lieutenant Buratai (Rtd) ordered the Nigerian soldiers to kill hundreds of Nigerian citizens of South Eastern extraction, in the guise of searching for members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).
“It is particularly noteworthy to mention that as at the time Lieutenant General Buratai (Rtd) ordered the massacre of IPOB members, the group had not been proscribed by the Nigeria Government.
“Additionally, we have been able to gather from different independent sources, that Lieutenant General Buratai (Rtd) personally ordered the killing of the innocent protesters at the Lekki toll gate, Lagos, on October 20, 2020.
“It is on the basis of the foregoing, among other human rights abuses, that we call on the International Criminal Court and friends of Nigeria to urgently investigate, arrest and prosecute Lieutenant General Buratai (Rtd), to serve as a deterrent to members of the Nigerian Armed Forces and their civilian collaborators who have made it a point of duty to indiscriminately abuse citizens’ human rights.”