Centre for Anti-corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL has commended President Muhammadu Buhari’s signing of an extradition treaty with the United Arab Emirates, UAE and agreements with some other countries.
Executive Chairman, Debo Adeniran said the signing is auspicious and timely with the background of an expedient need to re-invigorate the anti-corruption drive; it will improve inter-border cooperation among the countries which will enhance their task of ensuring the security of lives and property.”
He said it would assist the anti-corruption agencies, particularly the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC to trace looted funds stashed in Dubai and extradite the looter to Nigeria to face prosecution.
CACOL said an example which easily highlights the significance of the signing of the treaty on extradition with UAE is the case of a former governor of Delta State, James Ibori.
“We must recall that the man decided to escape to Dubai when the EFCC with active collaboration of other law enforcement agencies were closing-in on him to face prosecution for corruption crimes in Nigeria because there was no extradition treaty between Nigeria and the UAE.
“However, unknown to Ibori, there was such treaty between the UAE and the UK, which as of then in search of the former governor. He was thereafter extradited to the UK where he was prosecuted and convicted on corruption charges.
“The signing of the treaty is so appropriate. Remember, that the former governor of Delta State escaped to his hometown in Oghara in Delta State when law enforcement agencies were looking for him.
“He went through the waterways and landed in Dubai. The reason why the authorities of the UAE could not extradite him directly to Nigeria was because there was no Mutual Legal Assistance between the country and Nigeria.
“So, he chose to go to the UAE because of the absence of any Mutual Legal Assistance between the UAE and Nigeria. But he forgot or didn’t think it wise to know that there was Mutual Legal Assistance between the UAE and the United Kingdom. That was why the UK was able to request his extradition from the UAE to the UK and the rest is history.”
“If you look around, that is why most of Nigerian looters have properties in Dubai. So it is fashionable for looters to keep their loot in Dubai and tie it down there with properties. The treaty will now assist the EFCC to trace looted funds and seek assistance from the UAE for the extradition of the concerned persons when necessary. It will help the fight against corruption.
“As we commend President Muhammadu Buhari for the bold and progressive step as it clearly shows his determination to combat corruption, we hasten to emphasize the quintessence of strengthening institutions, as they are the ones which will ensure the achievements so far endures and built upon as the country progresses.”
“The Federal government must also ensure it perseveres in its efforts to have similar treaties or agreements and other legitimate instruments with the UK, USA and other countries where loots from our country are being hidden.
“Diezani Alison-Madueke’s extradition as a matter of fact should be on the priority list of fugitives which the FG through its agencies should be pursuing vigorously at present given the plethora of corruption charges she has to answer for,” Adeniran concluded.