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Borno elders demand ICC trial of Jonathan, others

 

Jonathan

Borno Elders’ Forum has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to probe the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan.

The called came after the startling revelations made last week by the immediate past Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh (rtd),

The forum, in a statement by its Chairman, Ambassador Usman Gaji Galtimari, said the former CDS’ disclosures were too “disturbing” to be wished away.

It called for the constitution of a judicial panel to unravel the circumstances surrounding the six-year counter-insurgency war in the North-East and if found culpable, the former President and others connected with the anti-terror war should be charged for alleged genocide before the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Badeh had during his Pulling Out Parade (POP) from the military said he headed a military that was ill-equipped and illmotivated. “For the first time, I was head of a military that lacked the relevant equipment and motivation to fight an enemy that was invisible and embedded with the local populace.

“Added to this, was the exploitation of a serious national security issue by a section of the press and the political class to gain political mileage,” he had said.

Consequent upon Badeh’s revelation, the Borno Elders’ Forum, said Jonathan must explain why he allegedly “refused to provide the military with the required functional and superior equipment.

” According to it, the alleged negligence of the previous administration exposed officers and soldiers “to mass murder, severe injuries and grave destructions of our communities.”

The elders also asked that compensation must be paid to families of officers and soldiers who lost their lives in the course of battling the insurgents with outdated weapons.

“The Borno Elders’ Forum has listened to live comments and read reports on newspapers and online media platforms, observing with keen interest, some revelations made by immediate past Chief of Defence Staff, retired Air Chief Marshal Alex Subundu Badeh, at his ceremonial pull out from service on Thursday, July 30, at a senior military barrack in Abuja, saying without mincing words that he (Badeh) presided over a military, that was ill-equipped and its troops poorly motivated….

“The Borno Elders’ Forum found Badeh’s comments very revealing, an eye opener, a precursor to judgement day and extremely disturbing.

“As Chief of Defence Staff under former President Goodluck Jonathan, Alex Badeh was not just the most senior serving military man and head of all serving military men in Nigeria, he was also in the best position to know the state of affairs regarding the provision of military supplies and motivation of troops,” the forum said.

It stated that Badeh’s disclosure confirmed the warning by Borno State Governor, Alhaji Kashim Shettima, in 2014 that the Boko Haram insurgents were better equipped than soldiers fighting them. It said:

“The governor’s comments were completely rebuffed by the then President of Nigeria who went as far as threatening to withdraw soldiers from Borno as he spoke on live television interview.”

The elders did not, however, spare Badeh, whom they said must explain why he kept quiet from January 2014 to July 2015, when he disengaged from the military as CDS.

“In the light of the revelation by the former Chief of Defence Staff, a National Judicial Commission of Enquiry under an incorruptible judge from preferably the Southern Nigeria be set up to ask the immediate past president questions on why his administration refused to provide the military with the required functional and superior equipment whereas our sons and daughters were exposed to mass murder, severe injuries and grave destructions of our communities.

“If the former government is found wanting it should be charged for genocide against the people of Borno State or at least criminal negligence at the International Criminal Court of Justice,” the group stated.

It promised to compile comprehensive lists of Borno indigenes killed in the raging insurgency as well as that of soldiers who died in the theatre of operation.

“A list of citizens of Borno State killed from the time the issue of military capacity became a question, is compiled and relations of those killed are fully compensated for the death of their loved ones as a result of criminal negligence.

“A list of soldiers sent on missions without being properly equipped and exposed to death at different battlefronts in Borno State, is also compiled and that they are specifically celebrated with their survivors fully compensated since their bread winners died not just in combat but out of negligence of those in authority,” the group said.

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