A United States of America (USA)-based lawyer, Mr. Emmanuel Ogebe, has faulted President Muhammadu Buhari’s visit to the International Criminal Court at The Hague, The Netherlands.
Ogebe who is the Managing Partner of the US Nigeria Law Group based in Washington, expressed concern over Buhari’s scheduled speech on his administration’s achievements in tackling corruption in Nigeria.
In a petition to the ICC Chief Prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, dated July 15, Ogebe stated that the ICC had no mandate to try corruption matters, but to hear and determine issues that border on war crimes such as genocide, which he alleged is going on in Nigeria.
In the petition titled: “Troubling Visit of Nigeria’s President Buhari to ICC,” the lawyer said: “Corruption is not within the mandate or jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court which is the world’s only permanent court exclusively for genocide.
“General Buhari’s proposed corruption speech is therefore completely off point and irrelevant. If he were ignorant of the limited jurisdiction of the ICC, he should have been properly advised by your office, if none of his advisers drew this to his attention, that the court has nothing to do with corruption.
“If General Buhari sincerely wants to support the ideals of the ICC, he should frontally address the ongoing genocide in Nigeria and his inability to halt the burgeoning bloodshed and not distract the time of your good office with an obvious non sequitor.
“Given your robust inquiries into potential war crimes and crimes against humanity in Nigeria, it is with grave concern that we note the announcement by Nigeria’s presidency via the News Agency of Nigeria that General Buhari will be meeting with you in The Hague this week.”
Consequently, the lawyer asked the ICC authorities to cancel its planned dinner with Buhari.
He also urged the ICC to interrogate the Nigerian President on allegations of gross human rights violations that are being perpetrated in the country under his watch.
“Consequently, we wish to humbly request the following:
“That General Buhari be asked to address his remarks at the Solemn Commemoration to the ongoing genocidal onslaught in Nigeria that has claimed thousands of lives this year already from the Fulani killer-herdsmen massacres
“That General Buhari’s unusual meeting with the Chief Prosecutor should answer the pending queries on the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) and Shi’ite massacres by his administration
“That the above meeting be televised and broadcast on the OTP’s website in the interest of full disclosure and that the minutes and transcripts are also similarly posted online within 24 hours
“That the dinner with the president of the court should be cancelled forthwith
“That you provide an opportunity for human rights lawyers and activists to have equal time and access after General Buhari’s visit to articulate their concerns on matters raised with the OTP regarding potential crimes in Nigeria
“We await your kind response to our urgent request,” the petition read.