The President of Nigeria, His Excellency General Olusegun Obasanjo received the Registrar of the ICTR, Mr. Agwu Ukiwe Okali, in audience on Friday, 17 September 1999 at the Presidential Villa at Abuja and pledged the strong political and moral support of his Government for the work of the Tribunal. The Registrar was on a working visit to the country with the objective of raising awareness of the work of the Tribunal in Nigeria and to seek Nigeria's support for the ICTR in the context of the country's leadership role in international affairs and Africa in particular.
"I believe strongly in what the Tribunal is doing" President Obasanjo declared. "There must never again be a repeat of genocide anywhere in Africa", the Nigerian leader stressed. Obasanjo also expressed his satisfaction at the contribution of Nigerian nationals, among others, to the important work of the UN Tribunal.
Mr. Okali briefed President Obasanjo on the work of the ICTR, its accomplishments, and the special importance of the Tribunal's work to African countries, many of which had suffered the debilitating effects of impunity. The Registrar and the Nigerian leader discussed the political and historical background to the Rwandan genocide, the methods of the genocide which was committed by large numbers of people, and the Prosecutor's strategy of seeking to bring to justice the alleged ring-leaders who planned and directed the genocide, crimes against humanity and other violations of humanitarian law in Rwanda in 1994.
The ICTR Registrar and President Obasanjo also discussed the commitments made by Mali and Benin to enforce the Tribunal's sentences in their territories, and the need for material resources to offset the costs associated with the enforcement of the Tribunal's sentences in African countries that have volunteered to do so.
The Registrar's delegation also held meetings and consultations with senior officials of the Ministry of Information, the News Agency of Nigeria, the Ministry of External Affairs, the Ministry of Justice, and the Ministry of Cooperation and Integration in Africa.