Nigeria will remain with the International Criminal Court (ICC) despite the recent pull out of some African nations, the ministry of foreign affairs has said.
Clement Aduku, spokesperson of the ministry, made the federal government’s position known on Wednesday, the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports.
Aduku said Nigeria’s stand on the issue as explained by the foreign affairs minister, Geoffrey Onyeama, had not changed.
The African Union had in January during plenary at the 28th AU Summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, called for collective withdrawal of its members from the court.
The summit had said that African countries were not fairly treated by the court.
But Onyeama says Nigeria and other countries believe that the court has an important role to play in holding leaders accountable, hence Nigeria fully stands by it.
“Nigeria is not the only voice against it; in fact, Senegal is speaking very strongly against it. Cape Verde and other countries are also against it. What AU did was to set up a committee to elaborate a strategy for collective withdrawal.
“After, Senegal took the floor, Nigeria took the floor, Cape Verde and some other countries made it clear that they were not going to subscribe to that decision,” he said.
Onyeama said that a number of countries had requested for more time to study the decision before acceding.
He said Zambia, Tanzania, Liberia, Botswana and a host of others were not willing to withdraw from the court.
“Each country freely and willingly acceded to the Treaty and not all of the members of the AU acceded; each country acceded individually, exercising its own sovereign right.
“So, if each country wants to withdraw, it has the right to do that individually.’ AU, which was not a party to the Rome Statute that established the court, should not be developing a strategy for a collective withdrawal for something that each country entered into individually.
“Those who feel they want to withdraw should do that individually,” Onyeama said.
Burundi, South Africa and The Gambia have publicly announced their intention to pull out of the ICC while Namibia, Kenya and Uganda are said to be contemplating withdrawing.