A coalition of four civil society groups said it had instructed a team of lawyers overseas to prosecute the All Progressives Congress presidential candidate, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (retd), at the International Criminal Court at the Hagues, Netherlands, for his roles in the 2011 post-election violence in Northern Nigeria.
The groups are Northern Coalition for Democracy and Justice, Northern Emancipation Network, Peoples United to Serve Humanity-Africa and Arewa Voters Assembly.
The coalition said it had already submitted ample video, audio and documented evidence to “support prosecution against Muhammadu Buhari who incidentally is going into the presidential race once again with an attendant mounting apprehension.”
The four groups are based in the North, while some of their conveners are resident abroad.
In a statement in Abuja entitled: “We have enough evidence to prosecute Buhari at ICC,” the spokespersons for the coalition, Ismail Ibrahim Bakori, Jonathan Ibrahim and Ibrahim Baba, said the action was premised on certain provocative statements ahead of the 2015 general elections.
The coalition said, “We are compelled to address the media to restate our resolve to press for the prosecution of Gen. Muhammadu Buhari for his inciting roles that contributed to the aftermath of the 2011 presidential election in some parts of Northern Nigeria.”
Bakori recalled that just as the results of the 2011 presidential ballots were being collated, violence erupted in most parts of Northern cities claiming several lives and destroying valuable properties.
He said, “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.
“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.
“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.”
But the Buhari Support Organisation dismissed the coalition’s demand, saying “You can’t just criminalise people based on propaganda, hearsay and smear campaign.”
According to the BSO, the 2011-post-election violence was a reaction to the illegalities perpetrated by the Peoples Democratic Party in the Northern states where Buhari won the election.
The BSO’s Head, Media, Publicity and ICT, Dr. Chidia Maduekwe, told Saturday PUNCH that Buhari had no hand in the 2011 post-election violence.