A group, Make Nigeria Better Initiative(MNBI) has filed a criminal complaint against Human rights lawyer, and anti-corruption crusader, Femi Falana SAN, before the International Criminal Court(ICC), accusing him of allegedly instigating the #Endsars protests by Nigerian youths, but which was unfortunately hijacked by hoodlums allegedly sponsored by government to disperse the protesters.
Falana has however reacted to the complaint, accusing the Nigerian Army as the brain behind the petition filed by MNBI.
The complaint, dated November 4, 2020 was addressed to ICC prosecutor, Madame Fatou Bensouda, was filed by Joseph Nwaegbu, Esq. a Senior Associate of Pathfind Attorneys on behalf of MNBI).
Nwaegbu in the complaint said the role played by Mr. Falana before, during and after what observers described as “the mother of all protests in Nigeria” is not only ignoble but criminal.
”On the recent #EndSARS Protests which turned violent across the country, we beg to submit that
the role played by Mr. Falana before, during and after what observers described as “the mother of all protests in Nigeria” is not only ignoble but criminal”, the group said.
The group further accused the Lagos lawyer of spreading fake news to further incite the youths in the country against the government which killings and destructions of properties.
”We have seen how the type of incitement spearheaded by Mr. Falana worked in Rwanda and other parts of the world and the resultant effect was genocide. In the case of Nigeria, the misguided youths who acted based on Falana’s posture, character and utterances employed crude methods to illegally murder about 22 (Twenty Two) police officers in cold blood during the #EndSARS Protests that lasted between the period 3rd October, 2020 till 21st October, 2020. We strongly believe that Mr. Falana is a highly placed Nigerian citizen, senior lawyer and politician that without the timely intervention of the ICC he will get away with justice in this case.
”At Oyigbo Police Station in Lagos alone, a total of 3 (Three) police officers were killed and roasted like Christmas goats with their facilities destroyed”, he said.
The group said it has attached sensitive pieces of evidence on the allegations raised to drive home their argument that Mr. Femi Falana, SAN, ought to be prosecuted and sanctioned.
In the criminal complaint, the complainant listed policemen killed and government property destroyed as casualties of the protest which lasted for about three weeks.
”It is our further submission that what Falana is doing gives room for suspicion that a another brand of terrorists group may be created to hide under the cover of “human rights activists” whilst sustaining the evils already bedeviling our people through the activities of the disbanded Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN), Boko Haram and Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).
The group called on the ICC Prosecutor to opens an investigation of Femi Falana, SAN, on her own accord under Article 15 (1) of the Rome Statute;
It called on the ICC Prosecutor to compels Femi Falana SAN upon conviction under the Rome Statute to pay the sum of $2,000,000,000 (Two Billion US Dollars) as punitive damages for causing death, injury and maiming of several citizens as well as wanton destruction of public and private properties through his instigation of the violent #EndSARS Protests across Nigeria from the period 3rd October, 2020 till 21st October, 2020.
In his reaction, Falana accused the Nigerian Army as the brain behind the petition against him.
He said: “One of my clients, the Socio-Economic and Rights Accountability Project (SERAP) had earlier submitted a petition to the ICC against the authorities of the Nigerian Army for the brutal killing of peaceful protesters in Nigeria. Before then, a London based human rights group had submitted a petition over the massacre of 347 Shiites in December, 2015 by the Nigerian Army;
The suspects in this cimplaint believe that I instigated both petitions. Hence, this obnoxious rejoinder was hurriedly crafted and dispatched to the Office of the Chief Prosecutor of the ICC to divert attention from the crime against humanity allegedly committed by those who opened fire on peaceful protesters in violation of international humanitarian law;
But the cheap ploy will not work as the ICC does not entertain frivolous petitions that are anchored on conjecture or speculation. After all, the ICC is not unaware of the fact that the suspects who committed arson and wilful damage to private and public properties in Lagos State and other places during the #endsars protests have been arrested, investigated and arraigned in criminal courts;
I am however surprised that the office of the Chief Prosecutor acknowledged the receipt of the groundless petition because it is the practice of the ICC to formally accept all petitions including the most absurd and obnoxious”.