By Kunle Olasanmi, Abuja
A Federal High Court, Abuja, yesterday, declined the request of the
Economic and Financial Crimes CommissionEFCC), for issuance of warrant
of arrest against former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs Diezani
Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu said the EFCC must file another affidavit to
prove that the earlier court summon granted the agency had failed in
the extradition of Diezani.
The judge noted that the EFCC had informed the court that the Office
of the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of
Justice hinted that the arrest warrant was needed to further give the
international police (INTERPOL) the legal power to bring the
defendant to Nigeria to answer to charges against her.
The judge, however, said it would give the anti-graft agency a room to
put its house in order in the trial of the ex-minister.
“I have carefully perused the application of the prosecution. The
earlier order of this court was made pursuant to Section 831 of
Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA),” she said.
According to the judge, court orders are not made in vain.
“It is my view that the summon 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 giving. I am
being informed that the defendant is believed to be in the United
“The learner counsel also informed the court that the extradition
process has failed as a result of the absence of the warrant of
“But if that is the case, learner counsel shall file an affidavit to
that effect supported by evidence from the Office of the Attorney
General of the Federation.
“I hereby give you time to put your house in order,” the judge held.
Justice Ojukwu then adjourned the matter till Dec. 3 for report and
arraignment of the defendant.
When the case came up yesterday, EFCC’s Lawyer, Farouk Abdullah,
reminded the court of the orders it gave and that the anti-graft
agency had complied with them .
“This is evident by an affidavit of compliance filed in this case and
before your lordship. It was filed on Oct 8, 2020,” he said.
He said since the defendant was not in court, the EFCC would urge the
court to issue an arrest warrant against Diezani.
“My lord, this honourable court issued a summon for the defendant to
appear today but the defendant has failed to appear.
“Giving the aforesaid fact, I apply that a warrant of arrest be issued
against the defendant pursuant to Section 83(1b) of the ACJA 2015.
“We urge the court, in making the order, to direct all law enforcement
agencies and the INTERPOL to arrest the defendant anywhere she is
sighted and be brought before the court to answer to the allegation
made against her before this honourable court,” he said.
According to the lawyer, we are also liaising with the office of AGF
and Minister of Justice to get in touch with any country that may be
hosting the defendant for the purposes of extradition in line with
Extradition Act and General Convention of Nations.
He said since the summon had not been able to achieve the desired
result, the need for a warrant of arrest cannot be over-emphasised.
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