Over 20 people allegedly shot and killed during Lekki shooting
The fight against police brutality in Nigeria has taken a new twist as the International Criminal Court (ICC) has opened a preliminary inquiry into the alleged killings and other forms of brutality in Nigeria, especially during the recent #EndSARS protest.
According to a BBC report, the ICC said it had received information on alleged crimes during the protests, which were organised under the #EndSARS campaign.
Recall that in October, many Nigerians took to the streets to call for an end to police brutality. This eventually turned bloody after men in military uniform on October 20 opened fire on the protesters at the Lekki toll gate in Lagos.
The triggered a series of violent clashes on the streets as hoodlums hijacked the hitherto peaceful protests and went on to raze no fewer than 27 police stations, vandalised hundreds of public and private properties.
In response to the protests, Mohammed Adamu, Inspector-General of Police (IGP), had announced the dissolution of the special anti-robbery squad (SARS) — a unit that had been accused of extrajudicial killings.
The ICC said the inquiry will begin with “whether the legal criteria for opening an investigation under the Rome Statute are met”.
The development is coming after a number of civil society organisations (CSO) threatened to report some heads of security agencies to the ICC over the conduct of their personnel during the demonstrations, popularly called #EndSARS protests.
However, Tukur Buratai, Chief of Army Staff, has since dismissed the threats to report him and some heads of security agencies to the ICC and other international authorities.
“They have continually threatened to report the NA to the International Criminal Court (ICC) and also threatened various forms of sanctions against personnel and their families,” Buratai had said.
“Criminal elements are threatening us with travel ban but we are not worried because we must remain in this country to make it better.”