The federal government has been called upon to exit the country from International Criminal Court (ICC) in order stand a better chance of winning the war against terror.
Participants at an International Conference on Human Rights and Armed Conflict in Nigeria organised by Global Amnesty Watch in conjunction with the Institute of African Studies, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, said government must assure the military that it is insulated from the ICC as regards its operations meeting international standard of the rules of engagement.
They accused Amnesty International of hindering the fight against Boko Haram by continuously blackmailing the military with the ICC.
In a communiqué signed by the chairman, Communiqué Drafting Committee, Dr Mutiullah Olasupo, and secretary, Barrister Maxwell Gowon, the conference agreed that a special task team should be set up to review and respond to any report emanating from Amnesty International, UNICEF and/or their associates.
It stated: “The task team is to help citizens understand when they are being wilfully misled by these entities. The task team should b made up of representatives from the CSOs that attended the conference”, the communiqué said.
“We demand that the federal government immediately activate the necessary steps for Nigeria to exit the Rome Statute and its creation, the International Criminal Court, to ensure that the military can fight terrorism without the cloak of blackmail constantly hanging over them.
“The government must in the interim assure the military that it is insulated from the International Criminal Court in view of its operations meeting international standard of rules of engagement.”
During the conference, participants and resource persons evaluated Nigeria’s war on terrorism in the three years from 2015 till date, the period the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration has been in office.
According to them, the war against terrorism made progress in the three years under review during which senior commanders of the terror group have been killed, arrested or surrendered, while remnants of the group have resorted to sporadic cross border raids from neighbouring Niger, Chad and Cameroon.
”It is regrettable that there has been a stall in the efforts to totally eradicate Boko Haram insurgents owing to several external interferences. These interferences include strategic support for the terrorists by international NGOs like Amnesty International and other groups representing its interests in Nigeria and the failure of Nigeria’s neighbours to honour international and regional commitments.
“The support from these NGOs has ensured that Boko Haram continues to get sympathy to use as propaganda for recruiting and radicalizing new members and continue to attempt occasional attacks on soft targets. It has in this regard moved from using hardened fighters to deploying underage girls that are able to evade security scrutiny to carry out attacks”.
“The International Criminal Court is constantly used to harass and intimidate military commanders and troops to discourage them from being committed to defeating Boko Haram. The myriads of false reports from Amnesty International and other groups usually have built in texts that threaten military personnel with arraignment for war crimes and crimes against humanity before the International Criminal Court.”
It pointed at South Africa, Burundi, Kenya and the Gambia ass countries that had taken different steps towards exiting the court because of its selective justice and usage as a tool for modern day colonialism.
Local and international speakers at the conference include David Falt, Global President, Global Amnesty Watch, Geneva; Professor Pita Ogaba Agbese, University of Northern IOWA [USA]; Mary Johnson, human rights lawyer, [USA]; Dr Malfouz A Adedimeji, former director, Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies, University of Ilorin, Kwara State and Mr. Stuart McGhie, expert in Humanitarian Law, London.
Others are Professor Emmanuel Ezeani of the Conflict Resolution and Peace Building Unit, Institute of African Studies, UNN, and Dr Udenta O Udenta, conference moderator.
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