Boko Haram perversion of Islamic ideology, Buhari tells ICC prosecutor

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President Muhammadu Buhari, yesterday, declared that the Boko Haram insurgency has neither religious nor ethnic underpinning, adding that majority of Nigerians now know the truth.

While receiving Karin Ahmad Khan, Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), at State House, Abuja, Buhari said that with concerted public enlightenment, it has become clear to people that Boko Haram is a perversion of religion, rather than an Islamic ideology.

He said: “God is justice. You can’t kill innocent people and shout, Allahu Akbar (God is great). It’s either you don’t know that God at all or you are simply being stupid.

“To say Western education is unacceptable (Haram) is very fraudulent. That is why we are fighting them, and educating the people.

“And we are succeeding a lot. We came to office when things were very bad. But we are educating the people. Education is fundamental. Religion and ethnicity are out of it. Some people have just made it a lifestyle to cause confusion, destruction and death.”

The ICC prosecutor likened extremism to cancer, which spreads and can also recede. He noted that what Boko Haram does, in collaboration with Islamic State of West Africa Province (ISWAP), “is perversion of religion.”

He said ICC believes in complementarity, “which promotes collaboration, as against confrontation.”

He counselled Nigeria, in concert with other Sahel/Lake Chad basin countries, to get the United Nations Security Council to refer atrocities committed by terrorist groups operating in the region to ICC for investigation and subsequent trial.

EARLIER, on Tuesday, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo also received Khan at the Presidential Villa.

Osinbajo noted that the proposal to reform the international justice system would “reassure African countries that there is room for negotiations and that the ICC is not just out to witch hunt any individual or organisation.”

He stressed the importance of creating a system that builds relationships and credibility among member states, “creating a sense that everyone can be treated fairly.”

Commending the Court for making the bold move, the Vice President said: “The steps you are taking are very crucial. For Nigeria, you will get all the cooperation, and at the end of the day, people must feel that the system is just and fair to all.”

In his remarks, Khan expressed excitement at the visit, noting: “It comes at a critical time in the history of the continent.”

He explained that the Court, through the proposed roadmap for reforms, would help African countries achieve justice, applying the principle of complementarity.

He pledged the commitment of the Court to work with local authorities to encourage domestic jurisdictions to investigate and prosecute perpetrators of core international crimes.

Osinbajo also received the Egyptian Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Ihab Awad, who came to brief him on the next meeting of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change to be hosted in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, later in November.

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