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Saturday, 30 January 2016

Indigenous People of Biafra: Dutch Lawyers File Complaint Against Buhari at The Hague

The pro-Biafran activist group led by the imprisoned Nnamdi Kanu has filed a complaint against Muhammadu Buhari in The Hague, accusing the Nigerian president of war crimes.
Thousands of people in southeast Nigeria have demonstrated in recent months, demanding independence for Biafra. Kanu, the leader of one of the most prominent activist groups—the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB)—was arrested by Nigerian security forces in October 2015 on charges of ethnic incitement and sedition. He remains in detention and was refused bail by a federal high court in the capital Abuja on Friday.

Goran Sluiter, a lawyer at Dutch human rights legal firm Prakken d’Oliveira, filed the complaint with the International Criminal Court in The Hague on Friday. Sluiter tells Newsweek that there has been “an intensification of violence and crimes committed against Biafrans since Mr Buhari became the Nigerian president.”

There have been numerous reports of pro-Biafran protesters being killed in clashes with Nigerian security forces during demonstrations. More than 20 protesters and two police officers have been killed since October 2015, AP reported, with about 200 people detained across the country. Inspector General Solomon Arase, Nigeria’s chief of police, warned protesters in December to stop their activities or face “the full weight of the law.”

“Nigeria is already a long time on the agenda of the [ICC] prosecutor and Nigerian courts are not dealing at all with these crimes. The time really has come for the ICC to act,” says Sluiter.
The complaint was filed on behalf of 17 unnamed victims and alleges to set out evidence of crimes against humanity—including torture and murder—committed by Nigerian security forces against pro-Biafran protesters.

Ndubuisi Osuala, the coordinator of IPOB’s branch in the Netherlands—which he says numbers around 200 official members—says the group wishes to see Kanu released and Buhari prosecuted for overseeing crimes against Biafrans. “What every IPOB member, every Biafran citizen wants is the release of our great leader, Nnamdi Kanu, who is a freedom fighter,” says Osuala. “Secondly, we need the International Criminal Court to bring justice and equity to our case…[President Buhari] has to be prosecuted and face the justice for what he did.”

Osuala also says that his group wants independence for Biafra but is seeking it by peaceful means. “We need to get freedom by peace and that is why we are protesting,” he says. “We are not terrorists, we are not killing people.”

Buhari has previously refused calls for Kanu to be released, describing the activist—who is based in the U.K. and runs the underground media outlet Radio Biafra— as a flight risk.
Femi Adesina, a media advisor to Buhari, declined to comment on the ICC case and told Newsweek that while Kanu’s case was ongoing, the Nigerian presidency would rather not comment on the matter.

The ICC was not immediately available to confirm that the complaint had been filed. Once a complaint is filed at the ICC, the prosecutor can decide to open an investigation if there is a reasonable basis for believing that crimes against humanity have been committed. Nigeria is a signatory to the Rome Statute, upon which the ICC’s jurisdiction in based.


1 comment


    1. Jos, June 22, 1945 - Over 200 people were massacred in Jos, and their property looted. The colonial authorities failed to institute a probe, and no justice was obtained for the victims.
    2. Kano 1953 - over 150 killed following the political riots in protest of the so-called treatment of Northern political leaders in Ibadan .
    3.Between May and October 1966 - over 50, 000 Igbo were killed in an organized pogrom following the Major Emmanuel Ifeajuna-led coup of Jan.15, 1966. In July a counter coup was staged in which the Igbo General Ironsi was killed in Ibadan with his host, Col. Francis A Fajuyi. Ironsi’s murder did not stem the massacres, but it was intensified from September 1966 .
    From July 1967- January 1970 over 2 million Igbos were killed fighting for liberation in Biafra . The International press reported acts of genocide against the Igbo in places like Asaba which were generally ignored. 3) Many Biafran civilians died mainly from starvation as a result of the federal blockade and mass starvation policy.
    3. Kano 1980 - over 1000 Igbos were killed
    4. Maiduguiri 1982 - 1983 over 500 Igbos were killed1)

    5) At the beginning of 2001, the Islamic Sharia law was implemented in Kaduna State and a particular incident in 2002 saw at least more than 1,000 Southerners killed in a particular riot and most of those killed were Igbos. Among those murdered were parents of Victor Moses (Austin and Josephine Moses), current member of Nigeria 's national soccer team that won the continental trophy in 2013.

    6) Between February 16 - December 26, 2002 thousands of Igbo were killed in northern Nigeria and the root cause of the killing and riot was the implementation of Sharia law in the northern states of Nigeria . Among those killed were three Igbo Christian pastors including George Orji who was killed by beheading.

    7) In November 2002, hundreds of Igbo were massacred again following controversy around the hosting of Miss World beauty contest in Nigeria .
    The APO-SIX killings occurred in June, 2005 in which the Nigeria Police Force extra-judicially killed six young Igbos (Ekene Isaac Mgbe, Ifeanyi Ozor, Chinedu Meniru, Paulinus Ogbonna, Anthony and Augustina Arebu) in Apo-Abuja. Till this day none of the police officers accused of this shockingly evil crime has been brought to justice.

    9) On 18th of February 2006 in Maiduguri and in almost all the northern states of Nigeria , the Muslims protesting over the publication of the cartoon of Prophet Muhammad by a Danish newspaper killed more than 100 Igbo. The Muslims attacked Christians and burned churches in the deadliest confrontation yet in the whirlwind of Muslim anger over the drawings.

    10) From March 2006 to July 2007, hundreds of Southerners were killed in almost all the northern states of Nigeria especially in Jos. The crisis was between Muslims and Christians.

    11) On October 8, 2007, another religious violence again broke out in Northern Nigeria in a row over the publication of the cartoon of Prophet Muhammad by a Danish newspaper and over 100 of people were massacred, majority of them Igbos.

    12) Between March 11, 2010 and September 1, 2011 over 500 Christians were massacred outside Plateau state capital, Jos. This time the killings took place in a mainly Christian village of Barkin Ladi Local Government Area of Plateau state.


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