Federal High Court in Abuja has declined request by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to issue a warrant of arrest against former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, who is alleged to be resident in the United Kingdom.
Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu rejected the EFCC’s request for an arrest warrant on the basis that it failed to enforce criminal summon granted against the former Minister as far back as July 24, 2020.
The Commission had in requesting for the criminal summons in July claimed it was required to facilitate the ex-minister’s extradition to Nigeria.
Faced with failure of the ex-Minister to honour the summons on Wednesday, the EFCC, through its lawyer, Farouk Abdullah, urged Justice Ojukwu to issue a warrant of arrest against her.
But Justice Ojukwu rejected it as she noted the criminal summons which the court issued on Diezani in the ruling of July 24, 2019, ought to be sufficient for the commission to process her extradition to Nigeria to face her trial.
The judge, who expressed willingness to give the extradition bid a chance to survive, however, demanded an affidavit with evidence from the Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation (the office with exclusive power to facilitate extradition), to prove that there was a need for the arrest warrant to have Diezani extradited.
She ruled: “It is my view that the summons should have assisted in the extradition of the defendant by the Office of the AGF.
“Today, the defendant is not in court and no reason was given.
“I am being informed that the defendant is believed to be in the United Kingdom.
“The learned counsel also informed the court that the extradition process has failed as a result of the absence of the warrant of arrest.”