Biafra Day Celebration: Group Vows To Drag IGP To International Criminal Court If IPOB Members Are Killed
A pro-democracy group, Concerned Nigerians, has threatened to drag Mr. Lawal K. Idris, the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), to the International Criminal Court (ICC) over his directive to Police Commissioners in the South-eastern states to be strict and firm in dealing with pro-Biafra agitators during events lined up to celebrate the Biafra Remembrance Day on 30 May.
The group made the this known in a statement signed by Messrs. Deji Adeyanju and John Danfulani, Convener and Secretary respectively.
Concerned Nigerians was responding to a statement signed by Mr. Jimoh Moshood, Force Public Relations Officer, conveying the IGP's directive to officers in various police commands in the South-East to deal decisively with members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), who have planned a series of protests in celebration of the Biafra Remembrance Day.
The group argued that the Police have no justification to want to stop the celebration because the Biafra Remembrance Day has huge significance for the Igbo, who experienced huge losses during the Nigerian Civil War.
"We do not see any justification whatsoever for the police to prevent the celebration of Biafra Day. In fact, the attempt by the Police to stop the celebration is a provocation in itself," the group said.
"This directive contravenes the right to freedom of expression, peaceful assembly, freedom of association and freedom of movement as enshrined and guaranteed in the Nigerian constitution," Concerned Nigerians argued.
The group disclosed that on Friday, it briefed the Chief Prosecutor of the ICC, Mrs. Fatou Bensouda, on the violations of IPOB members' rights, including the killing of over 150 of them by security agents. The ICC Chief Prosecutor, added the group, promised that action will be taken.
"Since a clear threat has been issued by the Inspector- General of Police vowing to deal decisively with the IPOB members, we wish to draw the attention of the Nigerian Police to the fact that protest is a human right and it must be respected," the group further said.
It also argued that the issues being raised by the IPOB, Biafran Independence Movement (BIM) and the Movement of the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) are subjects of intellectual debate. "Nations do not kill their citizens when issues of self-determination or referendums are raised. They engage them in an intellectual debate where reasoning and superior arguments prevail as in the case of leave or stay in the UK and Brexit," the group stated.
It called on IPOB, BIM and MASSOB members to be law-abiding in the exercise of their rights of assembly, movement and protest on Biafra Remembrance Day.
"Their approach should remain non-violent resistance even in the face of harassment and intimidation. If any Biafran is killed on May 30th, it will be as a result of the directive given to all police commissioners and formations nationwide and we will drag the Inspector General of Police to the International Criminal Court," the group concluded.
Source: Sahara Reporters