Justice E. S Chukwu of the Federal High Court, Abuja today April 14, 2015 deferred ruling in the extradition proceedings brought against Ehidiamhem Okoyomon, former managing director and chief executive of Nigeria Security, Printing and Minting Company, NSPMC, by the office of Attorney General of the Federation, to May 4, 2015.
Instead of the ruling, prosecuting counsel, M. S Hassan and defence counsel, Chukwuemeka J. Dumaka, who stood in for Alex Iziyon, SAN, re-adopted their written addresses and oral submissions in line with the constitutional provision that parties to any trial must re-adopt their addresses if judgment was not delivered within three months of the adoption of final addresses. It is over three months since the parties first adopted their written addresses.
The court had originally reserved ruling for December 1, 2014 but adjourned on the grounds that the judgment was not ready. Today’s adjournment is the fourth time ruling would be deferred in the extradition case.
Okoyomon is wanted in the UK over his alleged role in the bribery scandal involving officials of Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, the Nigeria Security Printing and Minting Company, NSPMC, and Securency International Pty of Australia, between 2006 and
His counsel Iziyon, SAN, had argued that the court lacks jurisdiction to entertain the application to extradite the respondent, that the 1931 treaty which the prosecution counsel is relying upon has been repealed by Decree No 87 of 1966. He argued that the 1931 treaty between UK and Nigeria was just an agreement, not a law. “I submit that, even if you want to consider that, it was between UK and United States and it governs the protectorate that was under UK then. We have since left in 1960”.
Hassan, in response, argued that the 1931 treaty became applicable to Nigeria in 1935 and that it was never repealed by any enactment. He further told the court that “schedule 2 under extradition law provides that the law shall apply to all Commonwealth nations”.
He urged the court to grant his plea based on the extradition treaty of 1931 between Nigeria and the UK which is applicable in Nigeria.