BY BRIGHT JACOB
A sociopolitical group, the Centre for Human Rights and Anti-Corruption Crusade, has petitioned the International Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherlands, requesting the prosecution of former President Muhammadu Buhari and the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele, over alleged “crime against humanity”.
The five-page petition dated June 4, 2023 and signed by the Chairman, Board of Trustees of CHURAC, Cleric Ebikonbowei Alaowei, was made available to journalists in Warri, Delta State on Sunday.
The group urged the ICC to use its power as provided under Article 15 of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, “to immediately carry out an investigation of the duo of former President Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria and the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele, and prosecute them if found wanting over policy they initiated and implemented when they were in government in Nigeria.”
Specifically, CHURAC wants the duo to be prosecuted over the redesign of the Nigerian currencies of N200, N500 and N1000 notes respectively with January 31, 2023 as the deadline for use of the old naira notes, an announcement which the group noted was greeted with a lot of criticisms, with financial experts all over the world, including the International Monetary Fund saying that the timing of the policy will hurt the Nigerian economy thereby causing hardship to Nigerians.
According to CHURAC, “the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning in the Government of the Federation of Nigeria, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, on October 28, 2022, stated that the CBN did not consult her Ministry on the policy and that the currency swap policy will further jeopardise the Nigerian economy.
However, Buhari affirmed on October 30, 2022 that the CBN had his backing to redesign the said naira notes against all wise counseling.”
“The former president further declared on November 10, 2022 that there’s no going back on the redesign of naira notes in spite of the apparent and identified demerits in the Policy,” CHURAC further recalled just as it chronicled the sufferings undergone by Nigerians in the process of executing the policy.
According to CHURAC, “It means the CBN governor and former president Buhari deliberately initiated this policy to inflict an untold hardship on Nigerians just because of their interest in the general elections.”
CHURAC’s petition to ICC read partly, “The action of the duo of Mr. Godwin Emefiele and former President Buhari has flagrantly violated the fundamental rights of Nigerians entrenched in international laws. The act constituted crime against humanity as provided under Article 7 of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. We, therefore, request you to carry out a holistic investigation of the crime in order to try them once they’re found culpable.
“Many Nigerians are still suffering and yet to recover from the adverse effects of the inimical currency swap policy. Even hospitals recorded so many deaths because people could not have access to their monies in the banks to fund treatments.
“If your office intervenes in this matter, it will serve as deterrence to other leaders of nations from the member countries from trampling on the rights of their nationals in initiating policies.
“We’re ready to provide all necessary information for the investigation and possible prosecution of the culprits.”