The International Criminal Court, on Tuesday, acknowledged a 27-page petition filed by Yoruba Nation agitators.
Those who signed the petition are the Leader of Ilana Omo Oodua, Emeritus Professor Banji Akintoye; Yoruba Activist, Sunday Adeyemo fondly called Sunday Igboho; and other 49 Yoruba Self-Determination Groups.
The petition was filed against President Muhammadu Buhari, the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, SAN; former Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Buratai; and former Inspectors General of Police, Ibrahim Idris and Muhammed Adamu.
In the petition, the Yoruba Nation agitators accused the Nigerian leaders and security chiefs of genocide and crimes against humanity against the Yoruba people of Ekiti, Oyo, Osun, Ondo, Ogun, Okun Land in Kogi, and Kwara states respectively.
A letter to the petitioners’ lawyer by the ICC’s Head of Information and Evidence Unit of the Office of the Prosecutor, Mr. Mark P. Dilon, read, “This communication has been duly entered in the Communications Register of the Office.
“We will give consideration to this communication, as appropriate, in accordance with the provisions of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.
“As soon as a decision is reached to formally commence investigation into this petition, we will inform you, in writing, and provide you, with reasons for this decision.”
The 27-page petition accused Buhari, Malami, Buratai, and others of Genocide offences such as killing members of the petitioners group; causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about physical destruction in whole or in part.
Akintoye, in a statement by his Communications Manager, Mr Maxwell Adeleye, added, “We Yoruba people must now move forward to accomplish our Yoruba nation’s self-determination by holding a referendum. A referendum is exactly like a regular election in which people line up at voting stations to vote for a candidate.
“I want a Yoruba Republic separate from Nigeria. Each voter will be able to vote yes or no. That is the Yoruba nation referendum.
“But we Yorubas need to take some steps before we can get our referendum. The first step is to make a strong statement loud and clear that we Yorubas want a referendum. The best peaceful way to make that statement is to circulate a petition among us that we want a referendum.”
What the petitioners requested
In a copy of the petition obtained by newsmen, the petitioners claimed that “in Nigeria, there are ongoing violations of Human Rights, as expressed specifically in the Rome Statute, being perpetrated against the Yoruba People, particularly genocide under Article 6, and Crimes Against Humanity under Article 7, of the Rome Statute.”
They also explained that their submission indicated “a growing popular outrage over the Fulani-dominated Nigerian government officials’ crimes against the Yoruba people, our collective will for a criminal investigation, consequent prosecution, and justice.”
“As Nigeria is a state party to the Rome Statute, pursuant to Article 12.1, the precondition to the Court’s exercise of jurisdiction exists, we, therefore, urge the honorable Prosecutor to: act pursuant to Article 15.2, initiate the Court’s investigation pursuant to Article 15.3, and urge this honorable Court to exercise its jurisdiction, pursuant to Article 13(c), without limitation to the accused persons listed on page two of this communique, in connection with the foregoing allegations,” part of the petition added.
Others who signed the petition with Akintoye and Ighoho are Imam of Yoruba in Ilorin, Kwara State, Shielk Raheem Aduranigba; Leader of Obinrin Oodua Agbaye, Chief Simisade Kuku; Leader of Yoruba Strategy Alliance, Babatunde Omololu; General Secretary of Ilana Omo Oodua, George Akinola, and 44 others.
Other government officials petitioned are Comptroller General of Customs, Hammid Alli; Inspector General of Police, Alkali Baba; Chief of Army Staff, Farouk Yahaya; former Chief of Airforce, Sadiq Abubakar; former Commandant-General of NSCDC, Ahmed Abubakar Audi; Comptroller-General of the Nigerian Immigration Services, Mohammed Babandede and the Commandant-General of NSCDC, Abdulahi Gana Muhammadu.