Buhari arrives Netherlands

President Muhammadu Buhari on Sunday evening arrived Netherlands ahead of his scheduled visit to International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague.

The president’s aircraft landed at Rotterdam-The Hague Airport at about 7: 23 p.m. (Nigerian time).

Mr Buhari was welcomed by Judge Chile Eboe-Osuji, President of ICC, Vice-President of the Court, Marc Perrin de Brichambut and Nigerian Foreign Affairs Minister, Mr Geoffrey Onyeama.

Others at the airport to welcome the Nigerian leader were Mr Oji Ngofa, Nigeria’s Ambassador to the Kingdom of the Netherlands and Mr Robert Petri, Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to Nigeria.

Also on hand to receive the president and his delegation were Mr Veenhuijzen, Aide-De-Camp to His Majesty the King of the Netherlands and senior officials of Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands.

Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, had announced that while in the Hague, Buhari will speak at the Solemn Hearing to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the adoption of the ICC Rome Statute.

The president will also meet with ICC Prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda.

“He is the only Head of State invited to ICC’s 20th anniversary and senior Nigeria officials see it as a positive recognition and appreciation of Nigeria’s support to the ideals and objectives of Court,’’ Adesina stated.

The Rome Statute was adopted on July 17, 1998, but ICC was not officially established until July 1, 2002, with a mandate to prosecute war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide.

Nigeria signed the Rome Statute on June 1, 2000, and ratified it on September 27, 2001, becoming the 39th State.

At present, 123 countries are States Parties to the Rome Statute of International Criminal Court

Shortly before the president’s arrival in the Hague, Nigeria’s Ambassador to the Netherlands had told journalists that whilst there had been some criticism of the Court, Buhari believed that its work was vital to preventing impunity worldwide and ensuring accountability for perpetrators of the most serious crimes.

‘‘Nigeria has always been a strong pillar of support to ICC especially in Africa, in the last 20 years, and this visit shows that this support is recognised and appreciated.

‘‘I am certain that this visit will reassure ICC that Nigeria remains a strong advocate of the ideals of the Rome Statute,’’ the ambassador said.

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