Alleged war crime: African lawyers vow to stand by Nigerian Army against ICC

The President, African Bar Association (ABA), Mr Hannibal Uwaifo, says that African lawyers will not cooperate with International Criminal Court (ICC) to investigate Nigerian Army for war crime against terrorists.

President of African Bar Association (AFBA), Mr Hannibal Uwaifo (L) pays a courtesy visit to the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Lt.-Gen. Faruk Yahaya. [Nigerian Army]

Uwaifo stated this when he led members of the council of ABA on courtesy visit to the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt.-Gen. Faruk Yahaya, on Thursday in Abuja.

He said that the association had made it clear that its members would not support any move by anybody to malign the army for carrying out its constitutional duties of protecting the nation against terrorists.

ABA president urged ICC and any other body to channel their energy to identifying and bringing sponsors of terrorists to justice for crime against innocent Nigerians.

He also urged the media to take time to verify the authenticity of every information given to them before going to the press so as not to support the enemies of the state.

“At the opening of ABA conference in Niamey, I did point out to ICC that the African bar will not be cooperating with it and will not allow it to investigate the Nigerian army.

“Instead, they should go and seek those who are sponsoring terrorism against our people and those who are waging war against our army.

“Those are the people we expect that the ICC should look for and not an army that is responding to obvious threat not only against themselves but also against the entire people.

“We are proud of the Nigerian army and I want to thank the Chief of Army Staff for the way and manner he has handled the army and I didn’t expect anything less from what I know about the army,” he said.

Uwaifo pledged the readiness of the body to support and defend the Nigerian army should the need arises.

He, however, urged the COAS to encourage more participation of army personnel in the bar conferences, especially those handling its human rights desks as well as sponsor the upcoming law conference.

Responding, the COAS said the Nigerian army would continue to collaborate with the body to forge common front to address the challenges confronting the nation.

Yahaya said that the army under his command would continue to explore more areas of interaction with a view to strengthening the relationship between the military and the bar.

In another visit by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the COAS, commended the humanitarian organisation for its continuous support and collaboration with Nigerian army in its operations.

He said that the two institutions had maintained strong and cordial relationship spanning over 30 years in the area of training and humanitarian activities.

Earlier, leader of ICRC delegation, Mr Yang Bonzon, said the visit was to explore ways to strengthen the dialogue between the Nigerian army and ICRC.

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