The International Criminal Court (ICC) has indicated interest to open an investigation into the recent #EndSARS protests against police brutality in Nigeria.
According to the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), the ICC said it had received information on alleged crimes during the protests, which were organised under the #EndSARS campaign.
The investigation will “assess whether the legal criteria for opening an investigation under the Rome Statute are met.”
In October, thousands of peaceful protesters gathered across major cities in the country to protest against harassment, extortion and extrajudicial killings by police.
The protest which was later hijacked by hoodlums who looted and damaged public and private properties became bloody in Lagos when soldiers fired live ammunition on #EndSARS protesters at Lekki Toll Gate, Lagos, on October 20.
An eye-witnessed report said that about 15 people were killed during the incident and the soldiers took their corpse away.
The Nigerian Army who had earlier denied its personnel were involved in the shootings later said its men were called upon by the Lagos government to enforce a curfew that was earlier imposed by Babajide Sanwo-Olu, Lagos state governor.
Accusing the military of plotting to cover up the killings, Amnesty International said it has proof that the shooting and killing of unarmed protesters were done by state security forces.
However, both the military and police authorities have rejected Amnesty’s report, saying the claim was not true.
The Lagos State Government has set up a panel of enquiry to take complaints from victims of police brutality and also investigate the shooting of protesters at Lekki toll plaza. ICC, however, said it is concerned after following events from the nationwide demonstrations closely.
Fatou Bensouda, Prosecutor at the International Criminal Court (ICC) had earlier acknowledge the reports of crimes committed during the #EndSars protests, saying the Court is keeping a close watch on the developments.
“My office has been closely following the events around the current protests in Nigeria and the reaction of Nigeria’s law enforcement and security agencies,” she tweeted in October.