The people of Biafra has filed a complaint against Nigeria and Muhammadu Buhari in The Hague,under the directive of the imprisoned Maazi Nnamdi Kanu accusing the Nigerian president of war crimes.
Millions of people in Biafra have demonstrated in recent months, demanding independence for Biafra. Kanu, the Director of radio Biafra london and Biafra television and one of the most prominent activist of Biafra was Kidnapped by Nigerian security forces in October 2015. He remains in detention despite a judge by the occupational government of Nigeria ordering his unconditional release.
Dictator Mohammadu Buhari during his media chat ordered a new judge to retry him and refuse him bail, today Maazi Nnamdi Kanu was refused bail by an occupational 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 the press 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 Indigenous people of Biafra in exile Netherlands—which he says millions of Biafra citizens —says the wishes to see Kanu released and Buhari prosecuted for overseeing crimes against Biafrans. “What every Biafra citizen, 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.