The Secretary-General of the Commonwealth, Dr. Emeka Anyaoku yesterday absolved Nigeria of any wrong doing for refusing to arrest the Sudanese President, Omar Al-Bashir, when he attended an AU summit in the country.
Anyaoku, who was speaking with newsmen during the funeral services of Madam Maria Taiwo Abati, mother of the Special Assistant to President Goodluck Jonathan on media and publicity, Dr. Reuben Abati which held in Abeokuta, the Ogun state capital declared that it was unrealistic for Nigeria to have handed over the Sudanese president to the ICC.
It would be recalled that the International Criminal Court (ICC) had issued a warrant of arrest on Al- Bashir Al-Bashir on what they called charges of genocide in Darfur. Al-Bashir however, recently came to Nigeria to attend the African Union (AU) summit on HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis.
His presence in Nigeria had also generated local and international reactions as Human Rights Watch, an international organisatio, had also condemned Nigeria for not handing the Sudanese president over to ICC.
The organisation recently said in a statement that “Nigeria has the shameful distinction of being the first West African country to welcome ICC fugitive, Sudanese President, Al- Bashir”.
Anyaoku, however, argued that Nigeria’s action and her refusal to handover Al-Bashir was in line with the already taken position of the African Union.
The former Secretary General of Commonwealth also emphasised that AU did not only rejected the warrant, but also accused the ICC of targeting only African offenders.
“The idea of Nigeria handing the Sudanese president over to the AC or the ICCT was unrealistic. He was not Nigeria’ guest but the AU’s guest and Nigeria was only a host to the AU”.
“There is no room for AU or any international body to sanction Nigeria because there is no procedure preventing member state on an issue like that.
Nigeria was hosting AU summit, there is no way that Nigeria should have said a member of the AU should not attend the summit”.