Following calls from Nigerians and various human right bodies for an investigation into the Lekki Toll Gate shooting, #LekkiMassacre of unarmed protesters by Nigerian soldiers on the orders of the government on Tuesday, October 20, 2020, the International Criminal Court (ICC) has taken up the matter and disclosed that preliminary investigation has commenced as they seek to find out events that happened during the #EndSARS protests.
Read more about #EndSARS
It will be recalled that ICC prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, had in October stated that the body was closely monitoring the reaction of Nigerian security agencies into the peaceful protests. This remark followed the October 20 shooting of protesters at the Lekki Toll Gate in Lagos which shocked the international community.
My office has been closely following the events around the current protests in Nigeria and the reaction of Nigeria’s law enforcement and security agencies. Any loss of life and injury is concerning. We have received information alleging crimes and are keeping a close eye on developments, in case violence escalates and any indications arise that Rome Statute crimes may have been committed. I call for calm and restraint.
The examination by ICC aims to find out if legal criteria for opening investigation under the Rome Statute are met. However, Amnesty International has stated that security forces opened fire on peaceful protesters and revealed they would back it up with proofs. The group (Amnesty International) also accused the Nigerian military of plotting to cover up the killings at Lekki. Meanwhile, the Nigerian Police and Army have denied the allegations of Amnesty International.
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Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari, has stated that 51 civilians, 11 police officers, and 7 military personnel, fell victims to the violence that followed the shootings at the toll gate.
Featured image source: BusinessDay
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