Nigeria’s main opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has called on the International Criminal Court and other world bodies to probe the service chiefs who resigned from their appointments on Tuesday.
The outgone service chiefs are Gabriel Olonisakin, the chief of defence staff; Tukur Buratai, chief of army staff; Sadique Abubakar, chief of air staff; and Ibok Ibas, the chief of naval staff.
The PDP, in a statement by its spokesperson, Kola Ologbondiyan, on Wednesday, alleged that the former service chiefs had committed crimes against humanity and should be probed.
Apart from noting their failure to defend the country against insurgents, the party called for an investigation into the extra-judicial killings of civilians reported under the leadership of the former four service chiefs.
“The PDP urges the ICC to probe the cases of extra-judicial execution of innocent Nigerians, massacre of peaceful protesters, illegal arrests and arbitrary detention of citizens in dehumanizing cells, torture and rape allegedly committed by the military under the outgoing commanders, as detailed in the reports of credible international bodies including the United States Department of State, Amnesty International (AI) and Transparency International (TI),” the statement said
The PDP urged the International Criminal Court (ICC) Chief Prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, to “issue an official warrant in line with the court’s earlier declaration that it has enough evidence to open a full probe on alleged crimes against humanity under the outgoing commanders.”
The PDP also called on the ICC to launch a full investigation into mass shooting, civilian tortures and village invasions allegedly linked to men in uniform across the country and hold the outgoing service chiefs responsible for their failure to act upon them.
The party said, “The exiting service chiefs must be made to provide answers for the reported massacre of unarmed protesters by the military in the North-west and South-east states between 2015 and 2018, including the 348 civilians reportedly killed by soldiers in Kaduna State as well as the 347 bodies found in mass graves in the aftermath of the Zaria massacre.
“The ICC is further called upon to investigate reports of military invasion and mass shooting in communities in Borno, Yobe, Rivers, Abia, Anambra among other states where soldiers reportedly killed unarmed civilians, razed communities, burnt homes, displaced inhabitants, raped women, detained, beat up and tortured citizens in detention camps reportedly located in military barracks where deadly fumigation chemicals were allegedly used in overcrowded cells.
“Our party further implores the ICC to investigate the reported inhuman detention of thousands of Nigerian children by military operatives in the northeast camps particularly between 2017, when more than 1,600 children were reported to have been in illegal detention in cages and 2018, when the UN detailed 418 detained children. This is in addition to the no fewer than 1000 children reportedly released under negotiation by the UN in 2016,” the party said.
The PDP, however, expressed its unwavering support for the military but insisted on “fishing out the bad elements in the system”.