The proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) has dragged the Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Buratai, Inspector General of Police (IGP), Ibrahim Idris, and 14 other Nigerian officials to a United States of America District Court over alleged complicity in the extra-judicial killings of its members.
IPOB alleged that the extra-judicial killings happened during protests over the arrest and detention of its leader, Nnamdi Kanu.
Those dragged to the US court, aside Buratai and Idris are: Lawal Musa Daura; Ibrahim Attahiru; M.I. Ibrahim; Kasim Umar Sidi; Issah Maigari Abdullahi; former IGP Solomon Arase; Abia and Anambra state governors, Okezie Ikpeazu and Willie Obiano; Habila Hosea; Peter Nwagbara; James Oshim Nwafor; Hosea Karma; Bassey Abang and Johnson Babatunde Kokumo.
The suit was filed based on two US’ statutes; the Alien Tort Claims Act (ATCA or ATS – the Alien Tort Statute) and the Torture Victims Protection Act (TVPA).
Both laws have extra-territorial reach, meaning they allow US federal courts to assert long-arm jurisdiction which extends beyond the borders of US.
ATCA provides that ‘the district courts shall have original jurisdiction on any civil action by an alien (foreigner) for a civil wrong committed in violation of the law of nations or a treaty of the United States.’
Since 1980, courts have interpreted this statute to allow foreign citizens to seek remedies in US courts, for human rights violations and for conducts committed outside the US.
The TVPA of 1991 is a statute which permits civil suits in the US against foreign individuals who, acting in an official capacity for any foreign nation, committed torture and/or extra-judicial killings.
In the suit, IPOB’s Media and Publicity Secretary, Emma Powerful, said the banned group’s lawyers argued that “the case is convincing.
“Beyond the latest processes, and at the ensuing trial, Buratai, Ikpeazu, Obiano and others, will be required to personally appear before the US court to testify under oath and cross-examination that will dwell on the details…
Abia and Anambra, according to IPOB, filed a counter-motion to the suit on February 6.