It was reported that elders in Borno on Tuesday asked that former President Goodluck Jonathan be taken to the International Criminal Court of Justice at the Hague to face charges of genocide against the people of the North-East.
The elders, under the aegis of the Borno Elders’ Forum, said the recent confession of former Chief of Defence Staff, Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh, at his ceremonial pull-out from service, that the military was ill-equipped and poorly motivated under his watch should be investigated and Jonathan brought to book.
They asked the Federal Government to bring the former President before a judicial commission of enquiry for ill-equipping the nation’s military against the Boko Haram insurgents.
Borno State has been the operational headquarters of the insurgents.
In a statement the BEF chairman, Amb. Usman Galtimari, said Jonathan had not denied the allegation by Badeh that the military was ill-equipped under him, saying it was sad that the Borno State Governor, Alhaji Kashim Shettima, had been vilified by the former President and his henchmen for publicly saying the military lacked equipment.
The BEF statement read, “The Borno Elders Forum found Badeh’s comments very revealing, an eye-opener, a precursor to judgment day and extremely disturbing.
“As Chief of Defence Staff under His Excellency, former President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, GCFR, 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.
“To our very rude shock, it turned out on Thursday, coming from an authoritative mouth, that indeed the governor was absolutely right after all. He has been vindicated by no less a person than the then Chief of Defence Staff, who was the symbol of the Nigerian Armed Forces.”
The elders said in the light of the revelation by Badeh, the Federal Government and the United Nations should take a drastic action against the Goodluck Jonathan administration.
They therefore demanded the following:
“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 destruction 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 retired CDS should also be asked why he kept silent when the military under his command was not provided with the right equipment. He had the option of speaking or resigning as he ought to have done in order to draw attention of the world and by that he would have saved lives of Borno people.”
The group also demand that “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 battle fronts 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.
“An unreserved apology is tendered by the immediate past President and his service chiefs to the people of Borno State, especially those that lost relations and also to Governor Kashim Shettima for all the humiliation he was made to suffer for telling the truth about the capacity of the military at that time.
“The President Muhammadu Buhari administration, in constitutional collaboration with the National Assembly, should consider the need to set up a Presidential Armed Forces Capacity Monitoring and Evaluation Unit, which could be directly supervised by the President/ Commander-In-Chief in order to have at all times accurate data of the capacity of Nigeria’s Armed Forces, monitoring military procurements and hardware and their deployments, so as to avert future discrepancies unless if, of course, there is already an established system of this nature.
“The current service chiefs should learn from their predecessors by building on their successes and avoiding their mistakes with regard to refusal to tell the nation the true situation of things where political leaders fail to meet critical needs of the military on matters of national security.”