“Do not be afraid of ICC war crime charges,” the Nigerian Chief of Army Staff. Lt Gen. Tukur Yusuf Buratai was quoted as telling Nigerian soldiers in an apparent response to comments credited to the ICC Chief Prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda.
The ICC Prosecutor had on Thursday said her office is paying a close eye on developments in Nigeria, following the attacks on #EndSARS protesters in Lekki, which has drawn international condemnation. “My office has been closely following the events around the current protests in Nigeria and the reaction of Nigeria’s law enforcement and security agencies,” Bensouda said in a tweet.
In a defiant mood, however, the chief culprit, the army chief told his troops not to be afraid of any charges of crimes against humanity by the ICC. While also making reference to the threat of a Visa ban by the United States and other Western countries, the General said that too, doesn’t scare him as he doesn’t really travel much.
“We are being threatened with a travel ban, but we are not worried because we will remain in our country,” Buratai, who is also accused of multiple crimes against humanity, including the infamous Zaria massacre, had boasted. “The first time I traveled outside this country, I was already 50 years and a general, so I don’t mind if I live the rest of my life here,” he said.
The ICC had been investigating the Zaria massacre and at the end of its preliminary investigations had said in its report that a possible crime against humanity might have been committed. At the start of reported killings by gen Buratai’s troops, Bensouda issued a statement in a series of tweets to the effect that “any loss of life or injury is concerning. We have received information alleging crimes and are keeping a close eye on developments, in case violence escalates and any indications arise on that Rome Statute crimes may have been committed,” she added.