The Action Congress of Nigeria on Thursday said the killing of 185 people in Baga, Borno State, would constitute crimes against humanity if the Federal Government failed to prosecute the perpetrators.
In a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Lai Mohammed, the party also said besides instituting a judicial commission of inquiry into the massacre, it was time to hold leaders, under whose watch these killings were perpetrated, accountable.
It said the killings in Baga, like previous ones where Boko Haram and the Military Joint Task Force had clashed, pointed to a systematic attack against a civilian population.
Noting that the act needed the attention of the International Criminal Court, the ACN said those engaged in the killings, including the Boko Haram sect, “cannot and must not get away with these heinous crimes”.
The party said the only reason why arbitrary killings had continued unabated in the country was that such act in the past, either in Odi, Bayelsa State or in Zaki-Biam, Benue State, went unpunished.
The ACN said, “Enough is enough! Even in countries at war, either insurgents or state forces are not daily mowing innocent citizens to death, as we are experiencing in Nigeria. It is clear that the Nigerian government is either unwilling or unable to prosecute these crimes, despite the deceptive assurances by those at the helm; hence, the ICC must immediately beam its searchlight on the situation in Nigeria.
“While we are aware that the killings in Odi and Zaki Biam occurred before July 1, 2002, when the Rome Statute setting up the ICC came into force, the killings in the North, especially at Baga, fall within the temporal jurisdiction of the global court.”
The party also blamed President Goodluck Jonathan for the Baga killings, saying he could not “distinguish between support for security agencies battling the insurgents and the incitement of the same forces against civilians who are caught in the crossfire”.
Meanwhile, the ACN has urged the National Assembly to investigate who authorised the deployment of foreign troops in Nigeria.
It added, “We know that the authorisation of international troop’s deployment is at sub-regional, continental or global levels. It is therefore important to find out which body authorised the deployment of foreign troops in Nigeria, the same troops that are now said to have participated in killing and maiming of innocent Nigerian citizens.”