The International Criminal Police Organisation (Interpol) National Central Bureau (NCB), Nigeria, has explained why it could not extradite Diezani Alison-Madueke, former minister of petroleum.
Garba Umar, head of the agency, spoke on Thursday when he appeared before the house of representatives ad hoc committee investigating the alleged missing 48 million barrels of bonny light crude said to have been illegally sold in China in 2015.
Diezani was the minister of petroleum resources from 2010 to 2015 during the administration of former president Goodluck Jonathan.
Shortly before Jonathan handed over to President Muhammadu Buhari in 2015, she left the country.
The former minister is alleged to have stolen $2.5 billion from the Nigerian government while she was a minister.
Though she denied the allegations, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has since commenced a process to extradite her.
The federal government had gained forfeiture of her properties located in Banana Island Foreshore Estate, Ikoyi, Lagos, including 18 flats and six penthouses.
But in January 2022, the former minister through her lawyers, filed a suit in the federal high court in Abuja seeking to stop the planned sale of her assets by the anti-graft commission.
‘UK TURNED DOWN OUR REPATRIATION REQUEST’
Appearing before the committee on Thursday, Umar explained how he travelled to other countries to repatriate some former government officials to the country to face justice.
“If you remember we repatriated many Nigerians who were alleged to have swindled the Nigerian government. I went personally and brought Maina from Niger,” he said.
“I brought the former attorney-general of the federation from Dubai and many other Nigerians who absconded, we brought them back to face justice and those who are in Nigeria hiding, we took them back to their various countries to face justice.”
Umar said the UK “turned down” their request to extradite the former minister, when Jude Ngaji, a lawmaker representing Ogoja/Yala federal constituency of Cross River state, asked why Diezani was not also repatriated.
“The issue of Diezani — a warrant of arrest was issued. I am sorry to say the government of the UK turned down our request,” he said.
“We followed mutual legal assistance (MLA) — you can check — that is mutual legal assistance to bring her back home. She went to court because according to them they have a system where they check our — let me not go there.”