Former Managing Director of Nigerian Security, Minting and Printing Company, Mr. Ehidiamhem Okoyomon has told a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja that he preferred to face trial in Nigeria rather than being extradited to the United Kingdom to face criminal charges.
But in opposition to his request, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission urged Justice Evoh Chukwu to grant its application to extradite Okoyomon to the United Kingdom where he had been assured of fair trial.
Meanwhile, the Court has ordered Okoyomon to be remanded in EFCC custody having adjourned till December 1 for judgment on EFCC’s extradition application after both parties disagreed on the legality and the merit of the application on Wednesday.
The anti-graft agency, through the office of the Attorney General of the Federation maintained that there was no basis to subject Okoyomon to trial in Nigeria where there was no pending charge against him.
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, the NSMPC and the Securency International Pty of Australia between 2006 and 2008.
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 added 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 United Kingdom.
“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said two statutes – the Extradition Treaty of 1931 and the London Scheme for Extradition – relied upon by the EFCC were no longer applicable in Nigeria.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, 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He argued that the Extradition Treaty of 1931 (Exhibit A) had been repealed in Nigeria by virtue of section 21(3) of Schedule 4 of Decree 87 of 1966.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.
Source : SunOnline