Buhari signs extradition treaties against corrupt Nigerians

President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday in Abuja signed nine international agreements which the Federal government believes will strengthen its anti-corruption war, stabilise the economy and improve the security situation in the country.

One of the treaties was a mutual legal agreement with the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

The treaty with the UAE will facilitate the extradition of Nigerians who abscond to the middle-east country after committing crimes in Nigeria.

The UAE, especially Dubai, one of its regions, is one of the major destinations of wealthy Nigerians including those who have been accused of various financial crimes.

A former Delta State Governor, James Ibori, had escaped to Dubai when he was wanted both in Nigeria and UK for financial crimes.

He was eventually extradited from there to the UK where he was subsequently jailed for money laundering. He was recently released after serving his jail term in the UK.

The signing ceremony by President Buhari for the execution of the Instruments of Ratification for International Agreements between the Federal Republic of Nigeria and other Entities was held at the Presidential Villa.

Speaking at the event, President Buhari directed all agencies of government with roles to play under the respective treaties that had been ratified to ensure that they play their anticipated roles in an
effective and responsible manner in order to ensure that the country reaps the full benefits of the agreements.

“It is my hope that these Instruments will reinvigorate the anti-corruption war and check the illicit flow of funds out of our country to other jurisdictions, improve national security, food security, boost our economic and tax regimes and improve the overall well-being of our creative community,’’ he said.

The President said the signing of the agreements was an important milestone in demonstrating the sovereign capacity of Nigeria to fulfil international obligations and take important steps for the
benefit of the economy, security and the anti-corruption war.

“I am delighted to perform today, the duty of executing Instruments of Ratification of certain Agreements on behalf of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, pursuant to the powers conferred on me by Section 5(1) (a) and (b) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) and Article 7 of the Vienna Convention on the law of treaties of 1969,’’ President Buhari added.

Buhari said the full implementation of the agreements had been delayed due to the need for all the sides to conclude their respective ratification processes.

“I am happy to note therefore, that pursuant to a Memorandum presented to the Federal Executive Council by the Honourable Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Council has approved the ratification of the said Agreements.

“With this sovereign act, which has been replicated in the United Arab Emirates by their responsible authorities, we are now in a position to utilize these Agreements fully to foster cooperation between our respective authorities particularly for the purpose of prosecuting the anti-corruption campaign of this Government,’’ he said.

The signed agreements were: Agreement on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters, Agreement on Mutual Legal Assistance in Civil and Commercial Matters, Agreement on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons and an Extradition Treaty.

Other Agreements include Charter for the Lake Chad Basin between Nigeria, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Libya, Niger and the Republic of Chad; African Tax Administration Forum Agreement on Mutual Assistance in Tax Matters and World Intellectual Property Organisation Performances and Phonograms Treaty.

Agreements on the World Intellectual Property Organisation Treaty on Audio-Visual Performances and the Marrakesh Treaty to facilitate access to published works for persons, who are blind, visually impaired or otherwise were also signed.


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