The International Criminal Court has commenced investigation of the Oba of Lagos, Rilwan Akiolu, for statements made about the Igbo’s in the build-up to the Lagos governorship election.
In the statement, available on line, Mr. Akiolu vowed that Igbos in Lagos who voted against his preferred candidate, Akinwunmi Ambode, would sink in the Lagoon. Mr. Ambode of the APC eventually defeated Jimi Agbaje of the PDP in a highly contested election.
The son of a late former governor of old Anambra State, Josef Onoh, on April 21, petitioned the ICC on the statement and asked the world jury to investigate the threat and bring the monarch to justice.
The ICC had earlier in the year acknowledged receipt of Mr. Onoh’s petition and promised to give consideration to his request.
Mr. Onoh petitioned the ICC saying he believes that Mr. Akiolu’s threat amounted to a call for violence to be perpetrated against the Igbo in Lagos in the event that the APC governorship candidate loses the election, which he noted violates Article 20 of the International convention and elimination of all forms of racial discrimination.
“Had the threat been made by any lesser person we would have dismissed same as an idle threat, but coming from the Oba of Lagos himself, it was a call to arms and an incitement to violence against the Igbos,” Mr. Onoh wrote.
In a second correspondence to Mr. Onoh with reference number OTP-CR-140/15, dated August 13 2015, ICC’s Head of the Information & Evidence unit in the office of the prosecutor, M.P. Dillion, said they were analyzing the situation identified in his petition with the assistance of other related communications and other available information.
Part of the ICC’s latest letter to Mr. Onoh reads: “Under article 53 of the Rome statute, the prosecutor must consider whether there is a reasonable basis to believe that crimes within the jurisdiction of the court have been committed, the gravity of the crimes, whether national systems are investigating and prosecuting the relevant crimes, and the interests of justice.”
Acknowledging receipt of the petition, Mr. Dillon said: “This communication has been duly entered in the communications register of the office.”