CAN Accuses ICC Prosecutor of Snubbing Victims of Terror Attacks in Nigeria
Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja
The leadership of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) protested against alleged snubbing of the victims of terrorist attacks in Nigeria by the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Mr. Karim Khan during his recent visit.
It said that a conservative assessment of the number of Christians who had lost their lives because of their religious identity from 2010 to date would be more than 25,000.
It lamented that the number of Christians who were killed by terrorists in Nigeria had risen from 3910 in 2020 to 4650 in 2021.
It added that Christians had been wounded, abused and traumatised, let alone the massive property destruction and forced displacement of Christians from their homelands.
In a statement issued yesterday on the visit of the ICC Prosecutor, CAN
said it was profoundly disturbed about the visit of the Prosecutor to Nigeria last week.
The statement jointly signed by CAN President, Revd. Samson Olasupo Ayokunle and Secretary General, Joseph Bade Daramola, the association said Khan appeared to be engaging in political games and was unwilling to engage with victims of atrocity, let alone Christian ones.
It described the action of the ICC scribe as a mark of disrespect to the victims of terrorism in Nigeria.
CAN in addition alleged that two Prosecutors of the ICC have now been colluding with the government of Nigeria to use the principle of complementarity to evade their own responsibilities in the face of international crimes, and to deny justice to the victims of religious and other violence in Nigeria.
“We wrote to Mr. Khan twice last year, attempting to engage with his office on behalf of Christian victims of religious violence in Nigeria and expressing concerns about the proceedings to date. To this day, we have not had any response. Mr. Khan failed to make any contact with us before, during or after his visit to Abuja. “To our consternation, we found out about his visit in the media. It appears that this Prosecutor engages in political games and is unwilling to engage with victims of atrocity, let alone Christian ones.
“Mr. Khan is clearly playing a political game, and is prioritising relations with the government of Nigeria. CAN is dismayed that the word ‘victim’ only appeared twice in his statement, and both times they were in bland stock-phrases,” said CAN.
CAN also faulted Khan’s statement on his visit saying that it explained nothing about what he and his Office had done on Nigeria since December 2020, possibly because they have done absolutely nothing.
“With all due respect to Mr. Khan, his statement and conduct since coming to office present him as a Prosecutor seeking to shirk his responsibilities for investigating and prosecuting international crimes in Nigeria.
“He comes across as trying to avoid providing a modicum of satisfaction to the thousands upon thousands of victims in our country’s long running tragedy of murder and mayhem, exacerbated by governmental indifference, negligence and possibly even complicity.
“Where is the application to the Pre Trial Chamber to open an investigation? How is it that Mr. Khan has been willing to leap-frog the situations of the Philippines and Venezuela over Nigeria, applying for leave to the Court’s judges to open investigations?
CAN said the Christian community had borne the brunt of the religious violence in this country.
“We have, in a communication that was ignored by the Prosecutor, pointed out flaws in the approach taken by his predecessor in relation to Nigeria,” it said.