BY Oscarline Onwuemenyi, Abuja
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, says it will soon draw to a close the over 75 high profile cases and 1500 others it is presently prosecuting in courts if the directive issued by the Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, Justice Dahiru Musdapher to judges to henceforth conclude all corruption cases filed and/or pending in their courts within six months are adhered to.
The Commission in a statement on Friday said the directive if strictly adhered to by judges will not only draw to a close the high profile cases with the attendant effect of reshaping the nation’s anti-graft war, it will also reposition the country’s reputation in the international community.
The statement, quoting the EFCC chairman, Mrs Farida Waziri said, “This directive apparently tallies with the objective of the campaign for the creation of special courts to fast track the trial of corruption cases which the EFCC chairman has vigorously pursued since 2008 in the interest of the nation’s socio-economic and political development.”
Meanwhile, Justice P. I. Ajoku of the Federal High Court Lagos has fixed December 22, for ruling on the application brought by the Attorney General of the Federation seeking an order to extradite Rasheed Mustapha Abayomi to the United States of America to face trial for his alleged fraudulent activities.
Rasheed who was based in America became a fugitive after allegedly swindling a United States organisation of $800,000 but was arrested by the EFCC after being contacted by the FBI. The US government under the mutual legal assistance treaty with Nigeria is seeking his extradition to the United States through the office of the Attorney General of the Federation.
Muslim Hassan, counsel from the office of the Attorney General of the Federation told the court to extradite Abayomi to the US to face trial for his alleged offences, saying the offences were extraditable contrary to the argument of Abayomi’s counsel that the offences were not extraditable.
He told the court to take cognisance of the Decree Number 1 of 1966 which established the legitimacy of military government and the subsequent powers conferred on them to make laws including the extradition law. He also told the court that extradition law was already in existence and so does not need to go through section 12 of the 1999 constitution.
Joseph Nwabike, SAN counsel to Rasheed had told the court to dismiss the submission of Hassan, claiming that it lacks substance. He told the court to take cognisance of the earlier ruling of another court and the bilateral agreement between Nigeria and Great Britain entered in 1931. He claimed that the offences were not extraditable and the 1966 decree did not pass through legislative process.