The International Criminal Court in The Hague has an important role to play to offer solace to victims of heinous despicable and dastardly crimes, says Nigeria Foreign Ministry spokesperson Jane Adams Reuters/Jerry Lampen

The Nigerian government has restated its commitment to the International Criminal Court (ICC) at a time when other African countries have left the tribunal. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Nigeria has no intention to leave the court, which it said represents the hope and aspirations of millions of people.

Jane Adams, spokesperson for the ministry, made the remarks days after the Gambia, South Africa and Burundi announced their withdrawal, claiming, among other things, that the court was biased towards African countries.

"Nigeria remains a signatory to the Rome Statute adopted on 17 July 1998 and which entered into force in July 1, 2002. Nigeria deposited its instrument on 27 September, 2001," Adams was quoted by the Vanguard newspaper as saying.

She also called on United Nations members states that are not yet signatories to the Rome Statute to sign the document.

"It is only by working together that we can ensure that the court effectively performs its functions and serves humanity faithfully," she said.

"A strengthened, reinvigorated and fine-tuned ICC as a symbol of the International Criminal system has an important role to play to offer solace to victims of heinous despicable and dastardly crimes. It will also make the perpetrators of those crimes know that there is no rest for the wicked. We collectively, owe it as a duty to this and future generations, to give voice to the voiceless."

Earlier this year, Botswana made similar remarks, urging countries not to leave "the only permanent international criminal tribunal."

"The best defense is not to abuse, stick to the law... We would never allow our president to get away with murder. We are not being prescriptive, we are just asking that we up the game," Botswana's vice-president Mokgweetsi Masisi was quoted as saying at an African Union summit in Kigali, Rwanda.

However, the decision of the three African countries to quit the ICC has been praised by some nations, such as Uganda.

Kenya, which the ICC is currently investigating, said it was watching the the withdrawals "with very keen interest."

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