Muhammadu Buhari, former head of state and presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), should be prosecuted by the International Criminal Court (ICCI) over the post-2011 election violence, the Northern Coalition for Democracy and Justice and the Northern Emancipation Network have said.
Following the declaration of President Goodluck Jonathan as the winner of the election, parts of the country in the north erupted in violence, leading to the loss of several lives.
Critics of Buhari had alleged that his supporters were responsible for the unrest, attributing it to incitement by the then flagbearer of the then Congress for Progressive Change (CPC).
“We recall that just before the 2011 elections, Muhammadu Buhari had categorically directed crowds at his campaign rallies in the north to protect their votes no matter the cost,” the groups said in a statement.
“Alas! The cost turned out to be the unquantifiable lives and valuable properties of citizens.
“The lives and properties so affected were mostly those of non-partisan innocent lower class citizens, including dozens of National Youth Service Corps members (Bauchi 12) while thousands more within the same category were displaced.”
The groups alleged that similarly provocative statements were being made as the next general election draws nearer, saying they decided to call for prosecution against Buhari in order to prevent another outbreak of violence in the forthcoming election.
“Worried by the mounting apprehension across the nation and among a section of the international community as a fresh round of general elections approaches with provocatively inciting utterances from do-or-die politicians, we instructed our legal team abroad to supplement the 2011 petition with additional facts, legal analysis, a renewed request for the ICC prosecutor to urgently launch criminal investigations due to mounting concerns that Nigeria may again witness the killing and bloodshed of innocent citizens,” the statement read.
“We hereby affirm our resolve to facilitate the prosecution processes against those whose utterances during the 2011 electioneering were largely responsible for inciting the violence. We wish to be put on record that our action is informed by our concern for the precious lives of Nigerians whose gullible minds are already being prepared towards violent reactions to the outcome of the upcoming polls.
“We maintain our resolve to pursue this legal option at the International Criminal Court at The Hague primarily to deter desperate politicians from re-enacting the script that led to the violent reactions that that trailed the 2011 polls.
“We have already submitted ample video, audio and documented evidence to support a prosecution against chiefly, Muhammadu Buhari who incidentally is going into the presidential race once again with an attendant mounting apprehension.”