By Levinus Nwabughiogu
ABUJA — Determined to recover Nigeria’s stolen funds stashed in foreign banks, the Federal Government, yesterday, signed different bilateral agreements with the United Arab Emirates, UAE.
The agreements were essentially on trade, finance and judicial matters.
While the agreement on trade was to promote investments and business dealings amongst the two countries, the judicial bilateral agreement will enable the country to extradite, or transfer persons serving jail terms.
The signing of the agreements which took place at Abu Dhabi was witnessed by President Muhammadu Buhari and the Crown Prince of the United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
A statement by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, from UAE stated that Nigeria’s Ministers of Finance, Trade/Investment, and Justice signed the respective agreements on behalf of Nigerian government.
“Nigeria’s Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, and the UAE Minister of State for Financial Affairs, Obaid Attayar, signed the Avoidance of Double Taxation Agreement, while the Minister of Trade and Investment, Mr Okechukwu Enelamah, signed the agreement on Trade Promotion and Protection with the UAE Minister of State for Financial Affairs.
“The Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami and his counterpart in the United Arab Emirates, Sultan Bin Saeed Albadi, signed the Judicial Agreements on Extradition, Transfer of Sentenced Persons, Mutual Legal Assistance on Criminal Matters, and Mutual Legal Assistance on Criminal and Commercial Matters, which includes the recovery and repatriation of stolen wealth,” the statement said.
Speaking at a reception after the signing of the agreements, President Buhari reiterated his commitment to fighting corruption and restoring Nigeria’s dignity in the comity of nations.
He also urged all Islamic countries to support the fight against terrorism in Nigeria and denounce the atrocities of Boko Haram as un-Islamic and against the teachings of the Holy Prophet.
In his remarks, Crown Prince Zayed Al Nahyan said the relationship between Nigeria and the UAE will be strengthened by President Buhari’s visit and the signing of the agreements.