The Federal High Court in Abuja on Wednesday refused to grant the application of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) seeking the court’s order on the issuance of warrant of arrest against former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke.
Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu held that an affidavit with evidence in support to prove that the earlier court summons granted the agency had failed in the extradition of the ex-minister must be filed by the commission before another request could be made.
The judge averred 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 power to bring the defendant to Nigeria to answer to charges against her.
He 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),” Justice Ojukwu said.
According to the judge, court orders are not made in vain.
“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 (UK).
“The learned counsel also informed the court that the extradition process has failed as a result of the absence of the warrant of arrest.
“But if that is the case, learned 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,” she held.
Justice Ojukwu adjourned the matter till December 3 for report and arraignment of the defendant.
Earlier at the resumed hearing yesterday, the 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 October 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 summons 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.