FG accuses ICC, Amnesty Int’l of frustrating fight against Boko Haram

FG accuses ICC, Amnesty Int’l of frustrating fight against Boko Haram

The Federal Government has said the International Criminal Court (ICC) and some human rights organisa­tions have colluded to aggravate the security ch

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The Federal Government has said the International Criminal Court (ICC) and some human rights organisa­tions have colluded to aggravate the security challenges facing the country. It condemned ICC for recom­mending a full investigation into possible war crimes by the nation’s security forces.

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, made the accusation at a recent media briefing he addressed in La­gos.

ICC Prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, said last month that a preliminary probe conclud­ed that there was a reason­able basis to believe mem­bers of the Boko Haram militant group and soldiers committed war crimes and crimes against humanity.

The minister stressed that while the security agencies continued to battle bandits and terrorists, the ICC and some international human rights organisations, especially Amnesty Interna­tional, had constituted them­selves into another “fighting force” against the country.

He said that while security forces were fending off attacks on many fronts, the organ­isations were constantly harassing and threatening them with investigation and possible prosecution over al­leged crimes against human­ity and other war crimes.

He said a section of the local media had also been parroting the organisations without weighing the impact of their constant threats on the security of the nation.

“The Federal Govern­ment frowns at this unbri­dled attempt to demoralise our security men and wom­en as they confront the on­slaught from bandits and terrorists. Nigeria did not join the ICC so it can become a pawn on the court’s chessboard.

“It beggars belief to see that a nation fighting an ex­istential war against bandits and terrorists is constantly being held down by an in­ternational body which it willingly joined. Nigeria is a sovereign state and will not surrender its sovereignty to any organ­isation. ICC, Amnesty Inter­national and their cohorts should desist from threat­ening our troops and putting the security of our country in jeopardy,” he said.

The minister said it was sad that the organisations mostly rely on fake news and disinformation to reach their conclusions.

Mohammed noted that in spite of the threats by the or­ganisations, the country had made tremendous progress in tackling bandits and Boko Haram terrorists.

The minister said that 2020 was one of the most challeng­ing years for the country with COVID-19 and EndSARS pro­test impacting on the econ­omy in addition to security challenges. He said the government, however, rose with courage and determination to tackle the challenges and had contin­ued to do so.

He said contrary to the position of some “jaundiced analysts and their lapdogs,” Nigeria is not a failing or failed state. Mohammed said the ana­lysts were wrong in seeking to portray the country as a failing state due to its security challenges.

The minister, who stressed that the gloomy prediction would not come to pass, add­ed that the country would rise to become a more respected member of the comity of na­tions.

He said: “If Nigeria was not a ‘failing’ state when a large slice of its territory equivalent to the size of Bel­gium was under the occupa­tion of Boko Haram, which collected taxes, installed and deposed emirs, is it now that no territory is under the ter­rorists that Nigeria will be a failing state?

“If Nigeria was not a failed state when bombs were rain­ing on towns and cities in Kano, Kaduna, Plateau, Borno, Yobe, FCT and oth­er states, is it now that such bombings have stopped that Nigeria will be described as a ‘failing’ state?

“If Nigeria was not a ‘failing’ state in those years that Christian and Muslim worshippers needed to be screened to even enter their places of worship, is it now that the siege on places of worship has ceased that Ni­geria will be described as a ‘failing’ state?’’

He also assured that the country will witness improved security this year. The minister disclosed that a number of the platforms the country had been expecting to pep up the battle against terrorists and bandits would arrive in the new year.

He said  Buhari had continued to provide the armed forces and other security agencies with whatever was required to function better in terms of platforms, logistics and capac­ity development.

“As the president said in his new year broadcast, the security apparatus and per­sonnel of the armed forces and the police are to be re-en­ergised and re-organised.

“This is with a view to enhancing their capacity to engage, push back and dismantle the operations of both internal and external ex­tremist and criminal groups waging war against our com­munities in some parts of the country,” he said.

“The year 2020 was a challenging year, undoubted­ly one of the most challenging years for the country. A global pandemic that triggered an economic reces­sion, security challenge and an unnecessary violence that stemmed from what started as a peaceful protest are just some of the challenges.

“It is to the credit of the President Mohammadu Buhari administration that it tackled these challenges headlong.