Nigeria will not leave the International Criminal Court (ICC) despite the recent declaration of some African nations, the ministry of foreign affairs has said.
This was made known on Wednesday by Clement Aduku, spokesperson of the ministry, the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports.
Aduku said Nigeria’s stand on the issue as espoused by the foreign affairs minister, Geoffrey Onyeama, had not changed.
This followed the African Union declaration in January during plenary at the 28th AU Summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, calling for collective withdrawal of its members from the court.
The body had declared that African countries were unfairly treated by the court; and many African countries subsequently indicated their willingness to withdraw from the court.
According to the statement, Onyeama said 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.
“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 deliberating their withdrawing.