The outgoing Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai, may face prosecution at the International Criminal Court for an alleged act of genocide and crimes against humanity targeted at exterminating members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN).
IMN popularly known as Shi’ites in the petition to the ICC, called on the global court to expedite action in the investigation and prosecution of El-Rufai, adding that he should be invited before leaving office on May 29.
In the petition made available to journalists in Abuja on Saturday and addressed to the Office of the Prosecutor at the ICC through its lawyer, Bala I. Dakum, the Movement said the petition was predicated on the grounds of unprovoked attacks and reign of terror by the governor on the movement since the Zaria massacre where many members of the sect were killed or injured, including Sheikh Ibraheem El-Zakzaky.
The petition partly read, "Our clients are a law-abiding Muslim sect and citizens of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, with millions of members spread across the 36 states of the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, particularly Kaduna, the home state of their Supreme Leader, Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky.
"After the 2015 Zaria Massacre where about 1000 of our clients were killed in Zaria, Kaduna State by the Nigerian Army, coordinated acts of genocides and crimes against humanity have been perpetrated against our clients at the behest of Mallam Nasir, El-Rufai (the Executive Governor of Kaduna State) and not fewer than fifty five (55) of people have been killed in Kaduna State alone while exercising their rights to freedom of worship and freedom of peaceful assembly and expression which are provided for under Sections 38, 39 and 40 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended), these rights are also guaranteed under the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights.
"These victims include children, the elderly, women, and men of all ages, as you will find highlighted hereunder.
"Our clients have witnessed reigns of terror and unprovoked attacks since the infamous Zaria pogrom wherein about a thousand innocent Shi’ite Muslims were killed. Most of them lost their precious lives in the course of exercising their right to freedom of religion, peaceful assembly and expression which are all guaranteed under Sections 38, 39 and 40 of the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended).
"The unabated deliberate and well-calculated machinations by Mallam Nasir El-Rufai to ensure that the Shiite Muslim Sect are extinct in Nigeria, particularly in Kaduna his home state compelled us to petition the International Criminal Court (ICC).
“IMN also urged the court to extend its investigation to other persons believed to have aided El-Rufai in committing the crimes under reference.
"These persons include all the Commissioners of Police who served in Kaduna State from 2015 when the Governor assumed office and Former Chief of Staff, Gen. Yusuf Tukur Buratai.
"Our clients are more afraid now considering the fact that the said Nasir El-Rufai, if not prosecuted, will use the incoming administration to hunt them, and he will succeed in his deliberate attempt to exterminate them with federal might, whose consequences could better be imagined.
"Our clients believe that it is in the interest of justice that this court initiates an investigation and prosecute Nasir El-Rufai for perpetrating these dreadful crimes.
"We strongly urge you to use your powers pursuant to Article 15 of the Rome Statute to initiate a preliminary investigation into these crimes, which may get worse unless something is done now and urgently.
"Initiating an investigation and possible prosecution will serve the interest of justice in no small measure, as our clients, who number in the millions, now live in palpable fear, knowing full well that Nasir El-Rufai is a man who stops at nothing in his quest to achieve his personal desires and would employ any means, no matter how brutal or crude, to achieve the same."
"Worthy of note is the fact that while the Commission of Inquiry set up by the same Nasir El-Rufai, the Governor of Kaduna State, recommended that the Army Officers involved in the Zaria pogrom be prosecuted for use of excessive force, the state government and the Federal Government, jettisoned the report.
"The Federal Government reluctantly retired the officers and deliberately rewarded them with ambassadorial appointments to shield them from prosecution by this Honourable Court. Unless this court acts now, the case of Nasir El-Rufai will not be different but worse, and the attacks on our clients may take on a new and terrifying dimension,” the petition added.