Femi Falana, human rights lawyer, has reacted to the suit filed against him at the International Criminal Court (ICC).
Joseph Nwaegbu, a Nigerian lawyer, had filed a criminal complaint against Falana at the ICC in Hague for his alleged role in the #EndSARS protest.
Nwaegbu has asked the court to investigate Falana over alleged incitement of the violence that trailed the #EndSARS protests.
But reacting in a piece entitled “LET THE GUILTY BE AFRAID”, Falana justified his actions, saying he decided to speak out loud against oppression and brutality.
He cited a reference to the report of a judicial commission of enquiry on the alleged killings of some members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) by the Nigerian army in Kaduna in December 2015, noting that the event was “a precursor of things to come” under the current administration.
The human rights lawyer added that he feared that failure to rebuke such actions would embolden perpetrators to “match from Shiites to non-shiites, to anyone who happens to hold a view different from the one they cherish, or who dares look at their god-head with eyes other than that of worship and devotion”.
“The latest has been the use of men of the Nigerian Army to wage genocidal attack on peaceful and unarmed #EndSARS protesters especially at the Lekki Toll Gate in Lagos. A full-scale war declared illegally in Port Harcourt has claimed the lives of scores of unarmed civilians,” he said.
“It was because they have no respect for the Rule and the duly constituted courts that these elements have persisted in dabbling into politics and civil affairs as recently shown in their deployment of soldiers in full battle gear and war formation against peaceful protesters.
“I hear that those who (by virtue of the state offices they hold relative to these matters) are sure to be called upon by the ICC for explanation are going about trying to divert attention away from themselves.
“I even hear that one such attempt has, in a complaint to the ICC, named me, Femi Falana, as responsible for allegedly instigating the violent EndSARS protests that led to killing innocent citizens, wanton destruction of properties and other heinous crimes against humanity in Nigeria.
“Mr. Joseph Nwaegbu/Pathfind Attorneys/MNBI and their shadowy minders and paymasters obviously think that the ICC is a forum for frivolities, especially of the type we have gotten accustomed to in Nigeria (like, government and government officials hiring praise-singers or protesters to counter-balance genuine protesters!).
“They will sooner or later know that the ICC is not such a place. I welcome them to pursue their petition. I move around the world and I have easy and undisturbed passage. I hope the shadowy minders and paymasters of Mr. Joseph Nwaegbu/Pathfind Attorneys/MNBI are able to do likewise. In fact, I challenge them to dare!”
Falana said “the current exertions by those responsible for the latest use of the Nigerian army to massacre peaceful protesters are sure to be in vain”, adding that “crimes of such magnitude” can never be swept under the carpet.
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