From Oluseye Ojo, Ibadan
The International Criminal Court (ICC) has acknowledged a 27-page petition on an alleged genocide and crimes against the Yoruba people in Nigeria, filed by the leader of the apex Yoruba self-determination group, Ilana Omo Oodua (IOO), Emeritus Professor Banji Akintoye, a Yoruba activist, Chief Sunday Adeyemo, fondly called Sunday Igboho, and other 49 Yoruba self-determination groups.
The petition was written against President Muhammadu Buhari; Minister of Justice and Antoney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami (SAN), former Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Buratai; and former Inspectors-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, and Mohammed Adamu.
The petition was also written against the Comptroller-General of Customs, Hammid Alli; Inspector General of Police, Alkali Baba; Chief of Army Staff, Farouk Yahaya and former Chief of Air Staff Sadique Abubakar.
The list also comprised former Commandant-General of Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Ahmed Abubakar Audi; Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Immigration Services, Mohammed Babandede; and the current Commandant-General of NSCDC, Abdullahi Gana Muhammadu.
The petition, which was signed by many leaders of Yoruba self-determination groups, was submitted at the ICC on their behalf by an international lawyer, Aderemilekun Omojola.
The petitioners accused the listed Nigerian leaders of genocide and crimes against humanity against the Yoruba people of Ekiti, Oyo, Osun, Ondo, Ogun, Okunland in Kogi, and the Kwara States respectively.
The Communications Manager to Akintoye, Mr Maxwell Adeleye, in a statement on Wednesday stated that apart from Akintoye and Igboho, the petition was also signed by Chief 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.
In a letter to the petitioners’ lawyer, which was received on Tuesday, July 13, 2021, the ICC’s Head of Information and Evidence Unit of the Office of the Prosecutor, Mr Mark Dilon, wrote, while acknowledging the petition: ‘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.
‘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.’
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, and deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about physical destruction in whole or in part.
They were also accused of crimes against humanity, such as murder, deportation or forcible transfer of population, torture, rape, sexual slavery and other forms of sexual violence of comparable gravity.