Saturday, May 28, 2022

#EndSARS: Osinbajo begs ICC prosecutor for fair treatment

The Buhari regime used lethal force to quell the historic #EndSARS protests of October 2020.

• April 19, 2022
ICC prosecutor Karim Khan and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo
ICC prosecutor Karim Khan and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo

As a preliminary probe into the October 2020 massacre of Nigerian protesters continues at the International Criminal Court, the global body’s prosecutor has arrived in Nigeria and held talks with Vice President Yemi Osinbajo. 

No fewer than a dozen Nigerians were killed when soldiers deployed by President Muhammadu Buhari opened fire on unarmed protesters in Lekki, a Lagos suburb, in order to quell the month-long demonstration against police brutality.

The Nigerian leader begged his guest to be fair in its activities in order not to be seen as witch-hunting African leaders.

Details of Mr Osinbajo’s State House meeting with the new ICC prosecutor Karim Khan were released by his spokesman Laolu Akande on Tuesday. 

Mr Osinbajo stated this Tuesday when he received on a courtesy visit to the Presidential Villa, the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Karim Khan, who is visiting the country.

The Vice President said the proposal to reform the international justice system would “reassure African countries that there is room for negotiations and that the ICC is not just out to witch hunt any individual or organisation.”

Mr Osinbajo noted that it is important to create a system that builds relationships and credibility among member states, “creating a sense that everyone can be treated fairly.”

Commending the Court for making the bold move, the VP said “the steps that you are taking are very crucial. For Nigeria, you will get all the cooperation, and at the end of the day, people must feel that the system is just and fair to all.”

Earlier in his remarks, the visiting ICC Prosecutor, Mr Khan expressed excitement at the visit, noting that “it comes at a critical time in the history of the continent,” acknowledging Nigeria’s role in Africa.

Khan explained that the Court, through the proposed roadmap for reforms, would assist African countries achieve justice, applying the principle of complementarity. 

He pledged the commitment of the Court to work with local authorities to encourage domestic jurisdictions to investigate and prosecute perpetrators of core international crimes.

Aside ICC officials on the entourage of the Prosecutor, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, and Nigeria’s Ambassador to the Netherlands, Eniola Ajayi, were present at the meeting.

Earlier, the Vice President received the Egyptian Ambassador to Nigeria, Ihab Awad who came to brief him on the next meeting of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change to be hosted in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt later in November this year.

In his remarks, Prof. Osinbajo noted that with the meeting holding in Africa, leaders in the continent should ensure that the converstions on Climate Change go the way “we want it to go,” adding that “our developmental challenges are as existential as the Climate Change concern itself.”

Laolu Akande
Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media & Publicity
Office of the Vice President 
19th April 2022

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