A leading civil society group in Nigeria, Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has called on the UK authorities to “extradite Nigeria’s former petroleum minister Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke to face charges of corruption and money laundering in Nigeria.
SERAP made the call today, 24 hours to the opening of the World Anti-corruption Summit in Lancaster House in London.
SERAP said the charge Diezani is facing in UK court does not sufficiently capture the gravity of her alleged crimes, and the increasing allegations of corruption against her in Nigeria.
The request followed the announcement this week by the Central Bank of Nigeria that it was carrying out special investigations into the roles played by banks in certain financial transactions, especially the N23.3bn reportedly shared to officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission by officials of the former President Goodluck Jonathan administration to influence the outcome of the last general elections.
In a statement today by SERAP executive director Adetokunbo Mumuni the group said, “The anti-corruption summit in London provides an important opportunity for the UK government to support the ongoing fight against corruption in Nigeria, and to send a powerful message that the UK will not provide sanctuary or condone impunity for corrupt public officials.”
The statement reads in part: “As a state party to the UN Convention against Corruption, the UK government can use the convention as a basis for the extradition of Mrs Alison-Madueke back to Nigeria.”
“We urge the Nigerian authorities to without delay submit a request to the UK authorities for the extradition of Mrs Alison-Madueke, explicitly making the point that Nigeria will guarantee her a due process-trial.
“If the UK refuses extradition request, Nigeria should consider submitting the matter for arbitration and if this cannot resolve the case, refer it to the International Court of Justice for adjudication. The Nigerian authorities should also consider filing a civil action against Mrs Alison-Madueke in the UK court.”
“By sending Mrs Alison-Madueke back to her country, the UK will be sending a message that high-level official corruption will not go unpunished no matter where the suspected perpetrator hides and thus contribute to the fight against impunity for grand corruption. The UK indeed has an obligation to extradite Mrs Alison-Madueke through international cooperation and collaboration in good faith with Nigeria.”
“We believe that effective prosecution in Nigeria is feasible, and this will bring justice closer to Nigerians who are direct victims of corruption. Extraditing Mrs Alison-Madueke back to Nigeria is equally important for allowing easier access to witnesses, evidence, victims of corruption; creating a deep connection between Nigerians and the impact of the trial; and empowering victims of corruption.”
“SERAP believes that there is probable cause that Mrs Alison-Madueke participated in the extraditable acts involving some banks in Nigeria, whether directly or indirectly. The allegations of corruption against her are strong enough for Prime Minister David Cameron to facilitate an extradition proceeding.”