The former Managing Director of the Nigerian Security Minting and Printing Company (NSMPC) Mr. Ehidiamhem Okoyomon, told a Federal High court sitting in Abuja that he will rather be tried in Nigeria and by a Nigerian court instead of being extradited to the United Kingdom.
Counsel for the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) however urged the court to grant its application to extradite Okoyomon to the UK to answer charges against him noting that Okoyomon will be granted fair trial by the UK court.
counsel for Okoyomon, Dr Alex Izinyon (SAN) argued that there is no extradition treaty between Nigeria and the United Kingdom and that it will amount to an infringement of Nigeria’s sovereignty to tried the matter in the UK whereas some of the alleged offences were committed in Nigeria.
“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 UK.
“The issue of fair hearing in the UK does not arise. Are we saying there is no fair hearing in Nigeria?” the learned SAN said
Arguing further, he said the two extant laws relied upon by the EFCC, the Extradition Treaty of 1931 and the London Scheme for Extradition were no longer applicable in Nigeria.
“Combination of these two instruments does not in whatsoever way, howsoever, cannot and does not confer locus on the Attorney General of the Federation to make the application,”
EFCC made the extradition application after receiving an extradition request from the UK, where Okoyomon is to face charges involving officials of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), the NSMPC and the Securency International Pty of Australia. The alleged transactions took place between 2006 and 2008.
The sitting Judge, Justice Evoh Chukwu reserved judgment to December 1 on EFCC’s extradition application and order Okoyomon to remain in custody pending the determination of the court on the matter.