A Federal High Court in Abuja has fixed March 3, 2021, for the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to fully comply with its orders in the trial of a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke.
Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu fixed the date on Thursday after counsel to the EFCC, Farouk Abdullah, asked the court for more time to enable the anti-graft agency to ensure full compliance with the court orders.
This comes after the court refused to grant the EFCC’s application seeking an order for the issuance of a warrant of arrest against Mrs Alison-Madueke in its ruling on October 28, 2020.
Justice Ojukwu held that an affidavit with evidence in support to prove that the earlier court summon granted the agency had failed in the extradition of the former minister must be filed by the commission before another request could be made.
She noted that the EFCC had informed the court that the Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice hinted that the arrest warrant was needed to further give the International Police (INTERPOL) the impetus to bring the defendant to Nigeria to answer to charges against her.
The judge, however, said it would give the anti-graft agency room to put its house in order in the trial of the former minister because court orders were not made in vain.
Abdullah had, in an application, urged the court to issue an arrest warrant against Alison-Madueke, who is believed to be in the United Kingdom.
He explained that the arrest warrant was needed to enable all law enforcement agencies and the INTERPOL arrest her anywhere she was sighted and be brought before the court to answer to the allegation made against her.
The lawyer added that since the summon had not been able to achieve the desired result, the need for a warrant of arrest cannot be over-emphasised.
Ruling on an ex-parte motion brought by the EFCC on July 24, the court had summoned the former minister to appear before it and answer to the money laundering charges filed against her by the anti-graft agency.
The commission had accused Alison-Madueke of fleeing the country for the UK in order to escape justice.