Omololu Ogunmade in Abuja
The Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice ,Malam Abubakar Malami, Wednesday said the demand by the embattled former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, that the federal government should extradite her to Nigeria to face corruption charges was needless.
Responding to questions from some State House correspondents in the Hausa language after the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting, Malami said the former minister lacked the power to demand her invitation to Nigeria, especially at a time sheâ€™s being investigated by the government of the United Kingdom where she currently resides.
According to Malami, the federal government would only bring Alison-Madueke to Nigeria if it felt strongly about it, insisting that nothing demands her extradition right now.
He added that bringing her down to Nigeria this time could jeopardise her investigation by the UK for money laundering and corrupt assetsâ€™ acquisition.
Malami dismissed insinuations that denying the minister the opportunity to defend herself in a Nigerian court would amount to lack of fair hearing, emphasising that her investigation by the UK precedes bringing her to Nigeria to testify in any case.
He further explained that the current investigation of Alison-Madueke by the UK was the aftermath of a deliberate request by the federal government for the investigation of some Nigerians in the UK, including Alison-Madueke for corrupt practices and asset acquisition.
He also dismissed the notion that the government was not doing enough to combat corruption.
â€œThe truth of the matter is that the government is doing something especially on the issue of corruption and litigation in Nigeria and outside the country.
â€œConsidering the fact that there is an existing understanding between Nigeria and other countries especially the UK on the recovery of stolen funds, you cannot say government is not doing anything.
â€œThe truth of the matter is that steps have been taken by the UK authorities on issues bordering on corrupt practices involving Nigerians.
â€œIf 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.
â€œAs 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.
â€œThe issue is not about fair hearing. We are talking about investigation first, and it is not within Mrs. Diezani Alison-Maduekeâ€™s power to ask the federal government to bring her to testify in any case in Nigeria.
â€œMrs. 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,â€ Malami insisted.