THE United States of America, India and Ghana have requested for the extradition of 11 Nigerians over money laundering, fraud as well as drug-related offences.
But India’s request was denied, according to a report.
A report titled ‘Ministerial Performance Report May 2019 – May 2020’ presented to the Federal Executive Council, (FEC) by Abubakar Malami, Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, showed that the Nigerians declared wanted in the foreign countries were linked to fraudulent practices.
However, the identities of the Nigerians involved in the acts of fraud were not disclosed in the report.
The Department of International Cooperation under the Ministry of Justice hinted that between May 2019 to May 2020, it had received a total of 12 extradition requests with eight from the US, three from Ghana and one from India.
It stated that the letters were sent to the INTERPOL to locate the persons named in some of the extradition requests, the Department added that it rejected the only extradition request from India involving a case of alleged money laundering concerning four Indians.
“The request was denied by the HAGF (Honourable Attorney General of the Federation) because the offences allegedly committed by the suspects appeared to be political in nature while a letter denying the request was sent to India,” a section of the report said.
It also stated that the department received 62 requests for assistance in investigations under the Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters Act 2019.
Nigeria had signed agreements with the named countries to strengthen its ongoing war against corruption within and outside the country.
The report noted that 42 Memorandum of Understanding and agreements between Nigeria and other countries were vetted during the period, while the ministry’s Department of Public Prosecutions received 1,120 terrorism-related cases in one year.
It noted that 500 of the 1,120 cases had been filed at the Federal High Court “while others have been recommended for de-radicalisation.”
The ministry is projecting that by December 2020, about 250 cases would have been concluded while all the cases would have been concluded by 2023.
It added that over 3,392 general and financial matters-related cases were received from the Nigeria Police for the prosecution at the magistrate courts due to the enactment of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015.
“We are happy to report that over 1,000 of these cases have been completed in the magistrate courts, with the defendants sentenced to various years in the correctional services,” the ministry stated.
The ministry added that it was currently prosecuting 1,359 cases of conspiracy/armed robbery and 10 cases of Securities and Exchange Commission-related offences.
With 10 cases in court over hostage-taking and kidnapping, the report indicated that the ministry was also handling seven cases of pipeline vandalism and 10 cases of electricity equipment vandalism.
The report urged the nation’s anti-corruption agencies (ACAs), to refrain from what it called media trials.
“ACAs also need to desist from ‘media trials’ especially where investigations have yet to reveal tangible evidence that will sustain charges when filed in court,” it read.
Amos Abba is a journalist with the International Center for Investigative Reporting, ICIR, who believes that courageous investigative reporting is the key to social justice and accountability in the society.