FG opposes repatriation of Nigerian in US prison

The ECOWAS Court of Justice, on Thursday, struck out a suit by a Nigerian, Richard Ugbah, praying the court to order the United States government to allow him to complete his jail sentence in Nigeria.

Ugbah, who is serving a 12-year jail term in the United States, was convicted of wire fraud on February 14, 2017.

He has served eight years of the sentence and will be released on May 8, 2026.

In the suit marked: ECW/CCJ/ APP/ 18/21, Ugbah prayed the court to order his repatriation to Nigeria, having fulfilled the conditions for transfer in the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime Handbook on the International Transfer of Sentenced Persons.

In a preliminary objection, however, the Federal Republic of Nigeria contended that the application was incompetent and contravenes the provision of Articles 9 and 10 of Article Supplementary Protocol.

The Federal Government pointed out that the Ministry of Justice, which was the second respondent, was neither a community institution nor a signatory to the ECOWAS Treaty.

The Nigerian government, however, asked the court to dismiss the application, stressing that the court lacked the jurisdiction to entertain the matter.

Reading the lead judgment, Justice Sengu Koroma said the court lacked jurisdiction to hear the matter.

The court also stated that the applicant had not shown a valid reason for their complaint against the respondent.

“The matter of competence is a legal issue and the argument presented by the applicant has no legal basis vesting the court with the authority to hear and determine the case,” the court held.

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