LAGOS, Nigeria – Nigerian frontline human rights lawyer, Femi Falana, has reacted to the lawsuit filed against him at the International Criminal Court (ICC).
Falana was dragged to the ICC by an organisation, Make Nigeria Better Initiative, MNBI, for allegedly instigating the #EndSARS that led to the death of many Nigerians.
The group in their lawsuit, accused Falana of having maintained antagonistic posture against Nigeria’s security forces, especially the military ever since the country returned to democracy.
The group, among other things, accused Falana of playing a criminal role before, during and after the protests by inciting youths to almost destroy the country.
They accused the senior lawyer of trying to foist a total breakdown of law and order in Nigeria which could lead to something similar if not worse than the Rwanda genocide.
And in reaction, the ICC said it has received the petition but added that the acknowledgement does not mean that an investigation has been opened or will be opened by the office of the prosecutor.
The ICC promised to inform the petitioners once it reaches a decision on the matter.
The senior lawyer reacted in a piece entitled “Let the guilty be afraid”, where he justified his actions, insisting that he decided to speak out loud against oppression and brutality.
He said that he believes that failure to speak against such actions would embolden perpetrators to attack anyone who happens to hold a view different from the one they cherish.
“The latest has been the use of men of the Nigerian Army to wage genocidal attacks on peaceful and unarmed #EndSARS protesters especially at the Lekki Toll Gate in Lagos. A full-scale war declared illegally in Port Harcourt has claimed the lives of scores of unarmed civilians,” he said.
Falana said all these are happening because those in authorities lack respect for the rule and the duly constituted courts.
He noted that as recently shown, soldiers have been deployed in full battle gear and war formation against peaceful protesters.
“I hear that those who (by virtue of the state offices they hold relative to these matters) are sure to be called upon by the ICC for explanation are going about trying to divert attention away from themselves,” he added.
“I even hear that one such attempt has, in a complaint to the ICC, named me, Femi Falana, as responsible for allegedly instigating the violent EndSARS protests that led to killing innocent citizens, wanton destruction of properties and other heinous crimes against humanity in Nigeria.
“Mr. Joseph Nwaegbu/Pathfind Attorneys/MNBI and their shadowy minders and paymasters obviously think that the ICC is a forum for frivolities, especially of the type we have gotten accustomed to in Nigeria (like, government and government officials hiring praise-singers or protesters to counter-balance genuine protesters!).
The lawyer said those that filed the lawsuit will sooner or later realize that the International Criminal Court is not such a place.
“I welcome them to pursue their petition. I move around the world and I have easy and undisturbed passage. I hope the shadowy minders and paymasters of Mr. Joseph Nwaegbu/Pathfind Attorneys/MNBI are able to do likewise. In fact, I challenge them to dare!” he said.
The senior advocate pointed out that “the current exertions by those responsible for the latest use of the Nigerian army to massacre peaceful protesters are sure to be in vain”, insisting such a crime can never be swept under the carpet.