Why ICC must probe Obasanjo, Jonathan – SERAP


The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, SERAP, has called on the International Criminal Court (ICC) to probe the administrations of former presidents, Olusegun Obasanjo, Umaru Musa Yar‘Adua and Goodluck Jonathan for alleged wastage of electricity funds.

The body claimed that the past governments squandered the sum of N11trillion meant for provision of electricity to Nigerians between 1999 and 2015.

SERAP made the call in a statement issued on Wednesday by its Deputy Director, Timothy Adewale.

The organisation asked Fatou Bensouda, ICC prosecutor, to investigate whether the allegations of “widespread, systematic and large-scale” corruption amounted to crimes against humanity within the jurisdiction of the court.

SERAP asked Bensouda also to prevail on the Nigerian government to surrender all suspected perpetrators for trial by the ICC.

The statement reads, “The Rome statute in article 7 defines ‘crime against humanity’ to include ‘inhumane acts causing great suffering or injury,’ committed in a widespread or systematic manner against a civilian population. The common denominator of crimes against humanity is that they are grave affronts to human security and dignity.

“SERAP considers these allegations of widespread and systematic corruption in the electricity sector as amounting to crimes against humanity and therefore clear violations of the provisions of the Rome statute of International Criminal Court.”

It said, “SERAP considers the apparent failure of successive governments and high-ranking government officials to prevent widespread and systematic corruption in the electricity sector as amounting to complicity under the Rome Statute.

“SERA, therefore, believes that the widespread and systemic nature of large scale corruption in the electricity sector fits the legal requirements of a crime against humanity.”

While stating that alleged corruption in the power sector had denied citizens access to basic social amenities, the organisation asked the court to “urgently commence an investigation proprio motu on the allegations of widespread and systematic corruption in the electricity sector since the return of democracy in 1999, with a view to determining whether these amount to crimes against humanity within the court’s jurisdiction.”

“In this respect, we also urge you to invite representatives of the Nigerian government to provide written or oral testimony at the seat of the court, so that the prosecutor is able to conclude since available information whether there is a reasonable basis for an investigation, and to submit a request to the pre-trial chamber for authorization of an investigation,” SERAP said.

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