Following a petition submitted to the International Criminal Court (ICC) demanding a thorough investigation of former Borno State governor Ali Modu Sheriff and retired Nigerian Army Chief of Staff Lt. General Azubuike Ihejirika, the ICC has confirmed they will review the petition and other supporting documents, which claim the pair were affiliated with the terrorist sect Boko Haram.
In August, Sheriff and Ihejirika were accused of sponsoring Boko Haram by an Australian hostage negotiator, Stephen Davis, who claimed to have been working with the Nigerian federal government to negotiate a release of the kidnapped Chibok girls.
In September, the Human and Environmental Development Agenda (HEDA), a non-governmental organization whose mandate is to promote and protect human rights, petitioned the ICC to act on Davis’ revelations, asserting that the Nigerian government lacked the “political will” to intervene against high-profile suspects like Sheriff and Ihejirika.
“With your public admittance of Boko Haram’s activities as qualifying for crimes against humanity, we shall not bother with further legal points to qualify these atrocities under the Rome Statute,” HEDA chairman Olanrewaju Suraju said. “It is also instructive to assert that the Nigerian government, under the current leadership lacks the political will and judicial independence to prosecute the individuals who are friends and former subordinates of the President.”
“We hereby urge the ICC to urgently open immediate examination of this development by inviting Rev. Stephen Davis to provide insight into his revelations, to assist the court in its investigation and possible prosecution of those connected with the crimes,” the statement furthered.
In response to the petition, the Head of Information and evidence unit, Office of the Prosecutor of the ICC, M. P. Dillon, wrote to confirm that the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court had officially received, registered, and promised to review the submission.
According the letter, the office of the ICC prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, would treat the issues raised in the petition within its mandate.
“This communication has been duly entered in the communications register of the office,” the letter read. “We will give consideration to this communication, as appropriate, in accordance with the Provisions of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.”
The letter concluded with a promise by the Court to communicate its decision once determined.