The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, SERAP, has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to seize the opportunity of the ongoing anti-corruption summit he is attending in the United Kingdom to request the extradition of a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, back to Nigeria.
SERAP, in a statement on Wednesday by its Executive Director, Adetokunbo Mumuni, said it believed that the charges filed against Diezani before the UK court had not completely captured all of the alleged crimes against her.
According to SERAP, the call for Diezani’s extradition had also become important in view of the recent announcement that the Central Bank of Nigeria was investigating the complicity of some commercial banks regarding how some government officials under the past administration allegedly shared N32bn among some officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission to rig the 2015 general election.
It also insisted that by sending Diezani back to Nigeria to face trial, the UK government would be fulfilling its obligation under international corporation and collaboration against corruption, adding that extraditing Diezani would be a signal that high-level official corruption would not go unpunished no matter where the suspected perpetrators were hiding.
The statement reads in part: “If the UK refuses the extradition request, Nigeria should consider submitting the matter for arbitration and if this cannot resolve the case, refer it to the International Court of Justice for adjudication. The Nigerian authorities should also consider filing a civil action against Mrs. Alison-Madueke in the UK court.”
“We believe that effective prosecution in Nigeria is feasible, and this will bring justice closer to Nigerians who are the direct victims of corruption. Extraditing Mrs. Alison-Madueke back to Nigeria is equally important for allowing easier access to witnesses, evidence, victims of corruption; creating a deep connection between Nigerians and the impact of the trial; and empowering victims of corruption.
“SERAP believes that there is probable cause that Mrs. Alison-Madueke participated in the extraditable acts involving some banks in Nigeria, whether directly or indirectly. The allegations of corruption against her are strong enough for Prime Minister David Cameron to facilitate an extradition proceeding.
“The UK shouldn’t be a country of refuge for corrupt officials if it is to avoid a miscarriage of justice in high-level corruption cases. But if Mrs. Alison-Madueke is not extradited, the UK will have a responsibility to amend her charges to include the fresh allegations against her and to try her on the merits under the UK laws as if she had committed the crimes there.”