Attorney General of the Federation, AGF, Abubakar Malami

* Frowns at ICC’s decision to investigate cases against it

Nigerian government will do all within its powers to ensure the conduct of free, fair and credible elections in 2019, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami (SAN) has said.

Malami said the country was mindful of the implication of a flawed election on its reputation and was willing to ensure that elections were held in a manner that will not require the intervention of foreign agencies like the International Criminal Court (ICC).

The AGF spoke in Abuja on Thursday while playing host to the visiting President of the ICC, Professor Chile Ebue Osuji.

Malami expressed Nigeria’s concern over the ICC’s decision to continue to entertain eight cases relating to it and in connection with its handling of the problem of terrorism in the country.

The AGF said it was regrettable that despite Nigeria’s support and commitment to the ideals of the ICC, the court has proceeded to escalate the eight potential cases relating to Nigeria.

He said: “Presently, the ICC has escalated the eight potential cases against Nigeria – six against the Boko Haram and two against the military – from the initial preliminary examination to preliminary investigation.

“This is worrisome as Nigeria has demonstrated beyond doubt, and in absolute cooperation with the ICC, that it is willing and able and, as a matter of fact, it is indeed arresting, investigating and prosecuting anyone that commits any offence that falls within the Rome Statute of the ICC.

“The above being the case, Nigeria views the escalation of the eight potential cases as uncalled for in the circumstance.

“Nevertheless, as a country that believes in the operation of the rule of law, fundamental freedom and the need to fight impunity in all ramifications, the escalation of the eight potential cases will not deter us from further expressing and demonstrating support to the ICC.”

Malami said Nigeria’s recent decision to defray all its arrears of assessed contributions, totaling €1,303,402.00 was a demonstration of the country’s support for Osuji’s leadership of the ICC.

The AGF assured that the country will prevail on countries that have withdrawn their membership of the court or threatening to do so to reconsider their position.

Malami added: “Let me assure you that my office will continue to work with the National Assembly to ensure speedy passage of the Bill for the domestication of the Rome Statute of the ICC, which is currently awaiting action by the National Assembly.”

He urged Osuji to ensure that his reign favours the country, particularly when there are job openings.

Responding, Osuji praised the countries for its support to the ICC and assured that the court will continue to ensure work against injustice and abuse of powers in its area of jurisdiction.

The ICC President described as inaccurate and erroneous the impression that Article 27 of the Rome Statute, that abhors immunity for any head of state or senior government officials was targetted at African leaders.

He said the provision and the reason for that portion of the Rome Statute predate Independent African states.

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