By Levinus Nwabughiogu-Abuja
The head of National Central Bureau, NCB, INTERPOL, Assistant Inspector General of Police (AIG) Garba Baba Umar, yesterday revealed that the government of the United Kingdom (UK) turned down their request to repatriate former minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Deziani Alison-Madueke.
Umar spoke on the sidelines of an investigative hearing by an ad-hoc committee of the House of Representatives on the illegal sale of Nigeria crude oil chaired by Hon. Mark Gbillah said that all processes of mutual legal assistance (MLA) were followed but the government refused.
He said that Madueke also went to court in the UK to check the Nigerian system.
Specifically, Umar was responding to a question posed to him by a member of the committee, Hon. Jude Ngaji, representing Ogoja/Yala federal constituency of Cross River State.
Ngaji had followed up on a question asked earlier by Gbillah which inquired of Umar was statutorily required to respond and start acting on the instruction of director of Public prosecution.
Answering the question, Umar said that his efforts paid off in bringing back former head of pension funds, Abdulrasheed Maina and the former attorney general of the Federation, Mohammed Adoke to face criminal prosecution.
He said: “That’s correct sir and let me tell you why it is. The Director of Public Prosecution from the ministry we have been doing issues of extradition, issue of reparation and so on, this is the normal procedure that has been in existence.
“The NCB deals with the head of all correspondences in respect of request for assistance come to my table. They write to me EFCC, NIS, all other agencies asking me to assist them on a matter. All I need to do just like what the chairman said is to scrutinize the papers, go through the documents that was brought before me.
“You can’t place somebody on a watchlist or red notice, ordinarily would have done it but I can’t do that because they have to show me evidences and we have to help from the other person, it’s the normal procedure Mr Chairman. I am not privy to the investigation and I am also not privy to the action of what the ministry of justice or the court are doing. All I know I receive a request and in the normal process Mr chairman and honourable members of this committee, it is my duty, it is my responsibility to check before I act on any duty. If you ask interpol the National headquarters, the IGP that are we investing? Like I told you interpol does not Investigate but NCB does because NCB is local police. They are just like catalyst like I told you between the law enforcement agencies and the interpol.
“In respect of assistance Mr Chairman, seeking for assistance, just like what happened if you remember we repatriated many Nigerians who were alleged to have swindled the Nigerian government. I went personally and brought Maina from Niger. 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.”
Responding to Ngaji’s question of not mentioning about bringing Deziani as she was one of the people Nigerian government arrested and whether it was possible for DPP to write a letter to you without the consent of the minister of justice and who takes the responsibility,
Umar said that the UK government refused to cooperate on Madueke.
“Sir, any letter, if you see the heading of the letter, if you check the letter it was signed for the Honourable Minister of justice and let me tell you he issue briefly to know. The issue of Diezani, a warrant of arrest was issued. I am sorry to say the government of the UK turned down our request. We followed 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”, he said.
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