President Muhammadu Buhari has signed nine different agreements including the Extradition Treaty between Nigeria and United Arab Emirates (UAE) toward strengthening Nigeria’s anti-corruption campaign.
Speaking at the agreement signing ceremony at the President Villa, Abuja on Thursday, the President also said that the agreements signed would enable both countries to take important steps toward strengthening their economies and security.
“Today’s ceremony marks a very important milestone in our demonstration of sovereign capacity to fulfill our international obligations and take important steps for the benefit of our economy, security and the anti-corruption war within and outside Nigeria.
“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, thus paving the way for today’s ceremony.
“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.’’
President Buhari, therefore, charged all agencies with roles to play under the respective Treaties to ensure that they did that effectively to reap the full benefits of the agreements.
Nigeria and the United Arab Emirates in January 2016 in Abu Dhabi signed six different agreements to enhance bilateral relations between them.
The signing of the agreements on trade, finance and judicial matters was witnessed by President Muhammadu Buhari and the Crown Prince of the United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
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 include the recovery and repatriation of stolen wealth.
The President, however, said that the full implementation of the agreements was delayed due to the need for both sides to conclude their respective ratification processes.
President Buhari further observed that the signing of the agreements was in demonstration of the nation’s sovereign capacity to fulfil its international obligations and take important steps for the benefit of the economy, security and the anti-corruption war within and outside Nigeria.
In his remarks, the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, said the signing of the treaties was a clear demonstration of Nigeria’s determination to continue to play its role as a responsible member of the international community.
Other legal instruments between Nigeria and UAE signed by the President included the Agreement on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters; Agreement on Mutual Legal Assistance in Civil and Commercial Matters and the Agreement on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons.
The President also signed the Charter for the Lake Chad Basin between Nigeria, Cameroun, Central African Republic, Libya, Niger and the Republic of Chad, African Tax Administration Forum Agreement on Mutual Assistance in Tax Matters.
Others are the World Intellectual Property Organisation Performances and Phonograms Treaty; The World Intellectual Property Organization Treaty on Audio-Visual Performances.
The Marrakesh Treaty to facilitate access to published works for persons, who are blind, visually impaired or otherwise was also signed by the President.
The signing of the agreements was witnessed by Ambassadors of the United Kingdom, USA, Ireland, Chad, and Head of the European Union (EU) to Nigeria as well as some cabinet ministers and presidential aides.