The Oasis Reporters
January 8, 2020
A United States-based human rights lawyer, Mr. Emmanuel Ogebe of the US Nigeria Law Group has written to the Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court [ICC], Mrs. Bensouda and faulted the Nigeria 2019 Report recently released by the Court.
In the letter, Mr. Ogebe pointed out what he termed “glaring omission of recognition and analysis of massacres by killer Fulani herdsmen as crimes against humanity.
He noted that the Nigeria Security Tracker maintained by a former US Ambassador to Nigeria at the Council of Foreign Relations maintained that the Killer Fulani Herdsmen outpaced Boko Haram in brutal killings.
The human rights lawyer recalled how he had documented the atrocities of the Killer Fulani Herdsmen and noted just five of their worst massacres in the past decade to include Dogo Nahawa massacre, two Agatu massacres, New Year’s Day Guma Massacre in Benue State and Xland massacres in Barkin Ladi, Plateau State.
The five referenced massacres claimed almost 1,200 lives collectively.
Ogebe, therefore, submitted to Bensouda for consideration two recent additional reports that graphically document what one investigator calls the “War Against Africa’s Christians” which could be accessed and read online. :
See attached, a copy Ogebe’s letter to ICC Chief Prosecutor below:
Dear Chief Prosecutor Bensouda,
I have chosen to undertake, as my first advocacy thrust of the year 2020, a petition to you concerning the stunning gaps between reports of other fact-finders and human rights investigators and the 2019 report of your office on Nigeria.
1. GLARING OMISSION OF RECOGNITION AND ANALYSIS OF MASSACRES BY KILLER FULANI HERDSMEN AS CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY
I note with consternation that the entire report did not for once note or mention the dreaded Killer Fulani Herdsmen Terrorists.
For the avoidance of doubt, let me reintroduce to you these perpetrators:
A. The Global Terrorism Index of the University of Maryland commissioned by the United States Department of State classified the Killer Fulani Herdsmen as the “4th deadliest terrorists” in the world in terms of fatalities.
B. The Nigeria Security Tracker maintained by a former US Ambassador to Nigeria at the Council of Foreign Relations maintains that the Killer Fulani Herdsmen outpaced Boko Haram in brutal killings on several periods under review. Former US ambassador Campbell called it a “terrifying religious war raging” in a 2013 article. predominantly Christian farming communities were slaughtered.
C. The Chairwoman of the US Commission on International Religious Freedom similarly said
“Religiously-related violence has led to more deaths in northern Nigeria than have Boko Haram attacks (Katrina Lantos Swett in April 2013)
D. We ourselves have documented the atrocities of the Killer Fulani Herdsmen and noted just five of their worst Massacres in the past decade thus:
i. Dogo Nahawa massacre March 7, 2010 – 501 people killed in two Plateau State villages. One man we met lost 10 family members.
ii. Agatu massacre I April 2014 – over 90 people killed, mostly worshippers after mass in Benue State. We met the brother of a victim.
iii. Agatu massacre II February 2016 – Over 300 people killed in Benue State. We visited 7 out of the villages destroyed and also met with victims displaced there from
iv. New Year’s Day Massacre January 2018 – 87 people slaughtered in Guma, Benue State. We visited and met thousands of displaced victims.
v. The Xland massacres of June 2018 – over 220 people slaughtered in Barkin Ladi, Plateau State. We met thousands of IDPS and I personally lost relatives.
Madam Prosecutor, during our interactions with your office following the gruesome Dogo Nahawa massacre almost 10 years ago, we argued at the time that the prosecution of suspects by the Federal government of Nigeria, though in breach of the State rights of Plateau to prosecute, was sufficient to pass the complementarity test thus showing that Nigerian courts were addressing the matter.
We further submitted to you then that a Federal High Court in Jos on December 2010 convicted fifteen Killer Fulani Herdsmen for the Dogo Nahawa massacres passing sentences of 10 years on them in trials we monitored. Thus the ICC lacked jurisdiction and or justification, in that particular matter of the Dogo Nahawa massacres, to intervene. (It is to be specially noted that the FGN wanted to sentence the Killer Fulani Herdsmen under the Terrorism Prevention (Amendment) Act of 2013 but the Supreme Court denied this in 2018.)
However, concerning further continuing acts of terrorism that followed since including the four heinous massacres adumbrated above, no prosecutions have been conducted. We therefore wish to distinguish the Dogo Nahawa case from the various other massacres which failed the complementarity test as national or domestic prosecutions are not now taking place. This gives the ICC jurisdiction and justification to intervene due to the failure of the Nigerian government to undertake satisfactory prosecutions for ongoing massacres for several years now, unlike the previous administration.
Data cited in our 2018 report submitted to you showed the pervasiveness of the attacks. Between 2013-2016 Herdsmen attacked Benue State alone on an average of once a month killing 6 a day.
We are therefore submitting to you for consideration the following recent additional reports that graphically document what one investigator calls the “war Against Africa’s Christians”.
Attached is a human rights fact finding report on Nigeria by British Member of the House of Lords, Her Ladyship Baroness Carol Cox.
Baroness Cox is a modern day Joan of Arc for the downtrodden in our generation. Her resolute commitment for the cause of humanity has taken her numerous to dangerous trouble spots in Nigeria on investigations.
Baroness Cox’s report highlights growing international recognition and documentation of the mid-grade genocide ongoing in Nigeria coming shortly after a French Philosopher’s recent exposé.
French investigator Bernard-Henri Levy lamented the silent war against Christians in Nigeria.
We hope the attachments will drive home the seriousness of the Nigerian situation which warrants your urgent attention this year unfailingly.
Please feel free to reach out with any questions.
US NIGERIA LAW GROUP”.