Ambassadorial appointments do not grant immunity to ex-service chiefs, says Odinkalu

CHIDI Odinkalu, a professor of law and former chairman of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), has said that the announcement of former service chiefs as Nigerian ambassadors does not grant them immunity from criminal charges.

Odinkalu said this on Thursday in a series of tweets in reaction to the appointment of the former service chiefs as ambassadors by President Muhammadu Buhari.

Speaking on concerns by some Nigerians that the service chiefs were appointed in order to escape prosecution from the International Criminal Court, Odinkalu said there was no such immunity yet.

The former NHRC chairman said to enjoy the immunity that came with ambassadorship, another sovereign country had to accredit them.

“Briefly, this isn’t exactly good news for the former service chiefs. To begin with, to enjoy Sovereign Immunity (that’s what it’s called) in international law, they have to be accredited to another sovereign as Nigeria’s ambassadors. Carrying a diplomatic passport isn’t enough,” Odinkalu said.

He added that due to allegations levelled against some of the former service chiefs, a few credible countries would not accredit them.

Odinkalu noted that, for example, a member-state of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) would likely not take the former service chiefs as ambassadors.

Read Also: Buhari’s base instincts bear eloquent testimony to his nepotism

“In any OSCE country, for instance, any effort to deploy them as ambassadors would almost be guaranteed to end up in a raucous domestic and diplomatic mess and will be resisted seriously. In all likelihood, they will not pass muster with those countries,” he stated.

According to him, the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court had already decided to initiate formal processes for an investigation into atrocities in Nigeria, including possible or alleged crimes by the Nigerian Army under the command of both Tukur Buratai, former chief of army staff and Abayomi Olonisakin, former chief of defence staff.






     

     

    On Thursday, Femi Adesina, special adviser to President Buhari on media and publicity, announced that all the former service chiefs who ‘resigned’ only 10 days ago had been nominated to the Senate as non-career ambassadors.

    The retired service chiefs include: Olonisakin; Ibok-Ete Ibas, former chief of naval staff;  Sadique Abubakar, former chief of air staff; and Mohammed S. Usman, former chief of defence intelligence.

    During their watch as Nigerian Service Cheifs, there were several allegations of high-handedness by military officers.

    In November 2020, the International Criminal Court confirmed that it received petitions over the killings of peaceful protesters during the #ENDSARS protests by men of the Nigerian Army. Buratai, particularly, was accused of ordering the killings of Shiites and young members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).

    Lukman Abolade is an Investigative reporter with The ICIR. Reach out to him via [email protected], on twitter @AboladeLAA and FB @Correction94

    Join the ICIR WhatsApp channel for in-depth reports on the economy, politics and governance, and investigative reports.

    Support the ICIR

    We invite you to support us to continue the work we do.

    Your support will strengthen journalism in Nigeria and help sustain our democracy.

    If you or someone you know has a lead, tip or personal experience about this report, our WhatsApp line is open and confidential for a conversation

    LEAVE A REPLY

    Please enter your comment!
    Please enter your name here


    Support the ICIR

    We need your support to produce excellent journalism at all times.

    - Advertisement

    Recent

    - Advertisement