Thursday, 21 June 2018 12:49

Consider ICC Prosecution Over Cutting Of Critical Projects By Lawmakers, SERAP Tells Buhari

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Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has accused the leadership and members of the National Assembly of “apparently engaging in crimes against humanity against millions of Nigerians by unilaterally cutting funding for critical projects such as health, water, education, housing and security, and replacing such projects with their own personal projects totalling 6,403 projects and amounting to N578 billion.” President Buhari signed the 2018 Budget into Law Wednesday June 20, 2018 at the State House, Abuja. The organization said, “the National Assembly cut funding for over 4,000 critical projects amounting to N347 billion.” The organization advised President Muhammadu Buhari to “instruct the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice Mr. Abubakar Malami to open discussion with the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) to establish whether substantial grounds and the requisite elements exist to warrant the intervention of the Prosecutor in this case.

We note that under the Rome Statute, the Prosecutor has power to intervene in a situation under the jurisdiction of the Court if a state party, such as Nigeria, refers a situation to the court.” In a statement Thursday by SERAP deputy director Timothy Adewale the organization said, “Indicting individual lawmakers suspected to be most responsible for the reduction of funding for critical projects would provide a much-needed measure of accountability for leaders who have traditionally acted with impunity, assured that they will never be held to answer for their actions. Cutting funding for essential public services such as health, education and security constitutes a serious human rights violation and potentially rises to the level of crimes against humanity against the Nigerian people.”

According to the organization, “The deliberate and systematic acts of alleged budget padding and cutting of funding by the lawmakers coupled with the widespread negative consequences of such acts for millions of Nigerians across the country point to not only allegations of corruption but also crimes against humanity, that is, deliberately withholding access of Nigerians to essential and life-saving public services, which is triable at the International Criminal Court.” The statement read in part: “Apart from pursuing a possible crime against humanity prosecution before the ICC, President Buhari should also move swiftly to enforce the judgment delivered last month by Justice Mohammed Idris in suit no: FHC/L/CS/1821/2017 ordering the President to ask anti-corruption agencies to forward to him reports of their investigations into allegations of padding and stealing of some N481 billion from the 2016 budget, and to ensure effort prosecution of suspects.”

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