The Human and Environmental Development Agenda, HEDA, a nongovernmental organization, has reported Mujahid Dokubo-Asari and his Niger Delta kinsmen to the International Criminal Court, ICC, over their inciting statements ahead of the February general elections.
In a letter dated February 3, and addressed to Amie Bensouda of the Office of the Prosecutor, ICC, HEDA stated that the comments credited to Mr. Dokubo and other Niger Delta militants were “akin to preparation for crimes against humanity”.
“Madam Prosecutor, to avoid a repeat of the Kenyan experience, where evidence to prosecute alleged sponsors of post-election violence could not be sufficiently mobilized, your office is hereby implored to broaden your monitoring engagement to cover pre-election utterances, actions, inactions and postulations from January 2014,” HEDA stated in the letter signed by Firdaws Ibrahim, Communication Officer, HEDA.
“Political gladiators have set the template for developments leading to the heated electoral process. Several politicians, public office holders and their supporters have embarked on hate campaigns, open threat of violence and even act tantamount to genocide.”
Two weeks ago, prominent Niger Delta militants met in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, and threatened to unleash violence on the country and take back the region’s oil should President Goodluck Jonathan lose re-election.
“For every Goliath, God created a David. For every Pharaoh, there is a Moses. We are going to war. Everyone of you should go and fortify yourself,” Mr. Dokubo-Asari, leader of the Niger Delta Peoples Volunteer Force, said at the gathering.
The militants were reacting to attacks on Mr. Jonathan and his campaign team during his rallies in the north.
Also, last November, Ibrahim Shema, the Katsina State governor, was caught on tape prodding his supporters to kill the opposition.
On January 14, the presidential candidates and their political parties signed a peace pact in Abuja, under the supervision of Kofi Annan, former United Nations Secretary General, and Emeka Anyaoku, former Commonwealth Secretary General.
Despite the peace accord, political campaigns across the country have continued to be characterized by hate speech, character assassination, religious and ethnic incitement and, physical attacks on campaign convoys.
The ICC on Tuesday warned that it would not take lightly the outbreak of violence during the general elections and vowed to prosecute persons or groups caught inciting or perpetrating acts of violence in the run-up or after election.
In the letter titled ‘Analysis of Security Situation in Nigeria,’ HEDA pledged to assist the ICC to ensure that sponsors and promoters of election violence are brought to book.
“Past experience have shown the government and by extension the ruling class as unwilling and incapable of bringing an end to politically induced violence or at the least, bring perpetrators of violence to book,” the group said.
“The April 16, 2011 Presidential election was greeted with an orgy of violence that took the world by surprise. It led to the death of over 800 persons in northern Nigeria. The victims were killed in three days of rioting in 12 northern states of Nigeria.
“In response to the mass killings, Nigerian Government on May 11, 2011 appointed a 22-member panel to investigate the causes and extent of the violence.
“In its report, submitted to the President on October 10, 2011, the panel indicted the government of contributing to the violence by failing to implement reports of past commissions and panels on ethno-religious and political crises which has contributed to the 2011 post-election violence and, urged the government to implement the reports.
“More than three years without implementation, even after a white paper was issued on the report, it is obvious the report has gone the way of those before it.
“The government has not only failed to implement recommendations of the Panel, the identified perpetrators of the violence are still freely working streets and, possibly emboldened by government’s inaction to unleash a higher degree of violence, if not favoured by outcomes of the 2015 election.”[Premium Times]