We don’t want Buhari to face trial at ICC after leaving office- Presidency


By Emmanuel Obisue

Nigeria’s Presidency has defended its refusal to deploy the Super Tucano jets to fight banditry and kidnapping in the nation’s troubled North-Western region, stating that it does not want President Muhammadu Buhari to face the International Criminal Court when he leaves office.

According to Presidential Spokesman, Garba Shehu, before the jets acquired from the United States can be deployed to the region, the terms of agreement for the purchase of the aircraft need to be amended so that Nigeria will not be in the “black book” of the US.

Speaking to Trust TV, Shehu said: “The military is a trained military. The president is responsible. If he finishes now, we want him to go and rest in Kaduna or Daura; we don’t want him to go to the International Criminal Court; that is not the idea. We should allow the military to use their methodical process for dealing with these things, let them do it.

“When you are dealing with countries like America, you have to be sensitive to public opinion, which is important to them as it is to us. Yes, it is clear when they sold the Super Tucano to the government of Nigeria. They were looking at the law.

“The law does not allow you to use weapons on targets they classify as civilians otherwise America will no longer sell weapons to you. Don’t forget that it took a buildup of years of rejection until President Buhari came on the scene and was able to establish credibility with America and they said they would sell”.

“It is true that from the beginning, the Air Force could not use the aircraft in the North West and even after that, it took some time because these things also use precision type weapons. From my own understanding, these were not to be made available until March, we are just into April,” he added.

Speaking further on what the government is doing to rescue to the abducted Abuja-Kaduna train passengers, Shehu noted that the military has the capacity to bomb the enclave of the bandits if it wishes, but the determination to rescue them alive is preventing the government forces from engaging in such actions.

While stressing that the government is making heavy investments in drone technology, he said the Abuja-Kaduna train service was ready for resumption after the recent attack, “but with air protection by the Nigerian Air Force pending the time when the appropriate technology is acquired for the rail”.