For two months, former petroleum minister Diezani Alison-Madueke and her lawyers have been working the courts, trying to get an order for the federal government to bring her back home from the United Kingdom where she is being investigated over alleged corrupt practices. It does not appear that she would be getting her wish anytime soon.
Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Malam Abubakar Malami, said on Wednesday that her demand was needless.
Malami made his argument against bringing Diezani back to Nigeria in an interview with State House Correspondents after the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting:
- She is being investigated by the government of the United Kingdom where she currently resides and bringing her down to Nigeria this time could jeopardise that investigation by the UK for money laundering and corrupt assets’ acquisition.
- She cannot claim that she is not being given fair hearing in Nigerian courts because the UK investigation precedes the cases here.
- The investigation by the UK is actually as a result of a deliberate request by the government of Nigeria for the investigation of some Nigerians in the UK, including Alison-Madueke for corrupt practices and asset acquisition.
- The government does not feel there is a need for her to return, however if things change at any point, the FG would not hesitate to have her extradited.
Quote: “If Nigeria feels strongly that there is need to bring Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke here to face charges of corruption, government will not hesitate to do that. As things are now, there is no need for that since the UK government is already investigating her… and government will not take any decision that will jeopardise what the UK government is doing. The issue is not about fair hearing. We are talking about investigation first, and it is not within Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke’s power to ask the federal government to bring her to testify in any case in Nigeria. Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke is facing charges of money laundering and acquisition of properties in the United Kingdom. So it is important to face the charges there than for her to come as a mere witness in a case in Nigeria,” Malami said.