Law News
Extradition: Ex-Mint MD Prefers Trial in Nigeria to UK

Ehidiamhem-Okoyomon

A former Managing Director of Nigerian Security Minting and Printing Company (NSMPC) Mr. Ehidiamhem Okoyomon, on Wednesday told a Federal High Court in Abuja that he preferred to be tried in Nigeria rather than extradited to the United Kingdom.

However, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) asked the court to grant its application to extradite Okoyomon to the UK where he had been assured of fair trial.

After hearing, Justice Evoh Chukwu reserved judgment in EFCC’s application to extradite him on December 1.

Pending the delivery of the judgment, the court ordered Okoyomon to remain in EFCC custody.

EFCC, through the office of the Attorney General of the Federation, had applied for Okooyeomon to be extradited to UK following a request from the UK authorities.

The EFCC’s application was informed by the request by the UK government to extradite
Okoyomon to the country to face charges relating to bribery allegation involving officials of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), the NSMPC and the Securency International Pty of Australia between 2006 and 2008.

The commission said  there was no basis to subject Okoyomon to trial in Nigeria when there was no pending charge against him.

Okoyomon’s lawyer, Dr. Alex Izinyon (SAN), while opposing the application, insisted that there was no existing extradition treaty between Nigeria and the UK.

Izinyon argued that  extraditing his client to face trial in the UK when part of the crime he was being wanted for in the UK was allegedly committed in Nigeria, would amount to subordination of Nigeria’s sovereignty to that of the UK.

He said: “We don’t want extradition. Since part of the alleged crime was committed here (Nigeria), we are ready to face trial in Nigeria.

“In fact, extraditing him to the UK is subordination of our sovereignty to that of the UK.

“The issue of fair hearing in the UK does not arise. Are we saying there is no fair hearing in Nigeria?”

Izinyon, in adopting his preliminary objection and counter-affidavit to the extradition application, said two statutes – the Extradition Treaty of 1931 and the London Scheme for Extradition – relied upon by the EFCC were no longer applicable in Nigeria.

“Combination of these two instruments does not in whatsoever way, howsoever, cannot and does not confer locus on the Attorney General of the Federation to make the application,” Izinyon said.

He argued that the extradition treaty of 1931 (Exhibit A) had been repealed in Nigeria by virtue of section 21(3) of Schedule 4 of Decree 87 of 1966.

He also argued that the London Scheme for Extradition (Exhibit B) was an agreement between the United States of America and the UK, which  had yet to be domesticated in Nigeria.

He said having not been domesticated in accordance with its provisions in Article 22, the London Scheme for Extradition could not be applicable in Nigeria.

But the EFCC’s counsel, Mr. Muslim Hassan, disagreed with Izinyon, insisting that the Extradition Treaty of 1931, made to be applicable in Nigeria in 1935,  had not been repealed.
He added that the treaty was not among the ones repealed by provisions of Decree 87 of 1966.
He also maintained that the London Scheme for Extradition had been domesticated in Nigeria by  virtue of provisions of section 12 of the Constitution.

“Section 2 of the Extradition Act 2004 provides that the Act shall apply to every Commonwealth country,” he added.

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