The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has issued a petition to Mr Karim A. A. Khan, QC, Prosecutor, International Criminal Court, urging him to investigate the growing cases of abduction of students in several parts of Northern Nigeria.
The SERAP further implored ICC to probe closure of schools, and the persistent failure of Nigerian authorities at both the federal and state levels to end the abduction as amounting to crimes against humanity.
The petition followed a string of abductions and closure of schools in some parts of Nigeria; including the recent closure of schools in Zamfara State after scores of students were abducted by gunmen from a state-run high school in Maradun district.
In the petition dated 4 September 2021 and signed by SERAP deputy director Kolawole Oluwadare, the organisation said, “Depriving children their right to education has severe consequences; for their ability to access their fundamental rights. The severe and lifelong harms that result from depriving children the right to education satisfy the gravity of harm threshold under the Rome Statute.”
SERAP said, “Investigating and declaring cases of abduction of Nigerian students and also closure of schools; as well as the failure by the Nigerian authorities; to provide safe and enabling learning environments; as crimes against humanity would help to combat impunity; deter future human rights abuses; and also improve access of the children to education.
“Persistent and discriminatory denial of education to girls is a crime against humanity. Repeated abductions; the absence of safe as well as enabling learning environments; and also the resulting closure of schools give rise to individual criminal responsibility under the Rome Statute.”