Ike Ekweremadu

Malami: Nigerian govt won’t interfere in Ekweremadu’s case

NEWS DIGEST – The Federal Government yesterday said it would not interfere in  the ongoing trial of a former Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, by a London court.

It, however,  stated that Ekweremadu would not be denied the service of the  Nigerian Consular  in the United Kingdom if  ”the request is made”.

The lawmaker, who represents Enugu West in the National Assembly,  is being tried for organ harvesting allegation leveled against him and his wife, Beatrice, by a 21-year-old Ebonyi State indigene, David Nwamini.

The case was adjourned till October 31 by the court.

Attorney-General and Minister of Justice Abubakar Malami revealed government’s position on the matter, at the weekly ministerial briefing organised by the Presidential Communication Team, at the Presidential Villa in Abuja yesterday.

Malami also spoke on extradition requests, litigations against the government,  looted funds, and infrastructure funding deficit facing the Mohammadu Buhari administration.

On the Ekweremadu case, Malami explained that the  Nigeria government has the tradition of not interfering in any judicial matter, whether local or international.

His words: “It has never been the tradition of Nigerian government to interfere on anything judicial, local or international. And that stands the position of the government.

“ I have stated in the course of my presentation, that there has been in existence of mutual legal assistance requests and collaboration between Nigeria and other countries across the world.

“So, to this end, I want to state that we will address the request if that is such a request, both on the part of Senator Ekweremadu.

“What I’m trying to state in essence is,  we have mutual legal assistance, understanding with the U.K, and whichever of the agencies, either the Senator as an accused or suspect, or indeed the agencies in the UK, make any request for international support we will respond accordingly.

“But as far as interest as to the Federal government is concerned, it is not a matter over which we can develop any interest. Perhaps maybe, if there are interests, there are interests that should be rooted in law. For example, relating to the child in contention, you know, we have Child Rights law, among others.

“If there is an allegation of breach, we may possibly consider looking at it from that perspective.

”In case of consular services there is need for Senator Ekweremadu to be accorded one, in view of the fact that he is Nigerian, and the request is made, we’ll look at it on its merits. So, what I’m saying, in essence, is not about meddlesome interloper, or perhaps maybe just coming into a scene relating to issues that border on crime. “

Malami also explained that  his ministry successfully processed over 350 Mutual Legal Assistance and 50 extradition requests, including that of  DCP Abba Kyari from the United States.

“My office filed extradition proceedings against the suspended DCP Abba Kyari in line with an MLA request from the USA”, he said.

He added that the Buhari administration inherited 648 litigations from its predecessor and incurred zero judgment debt  against  it  in the past seven years

His words: “ Before this government came into power, a lot of judgment debts were incurred, including the Paris Club that constitutes a contentious subject in the system.

“But one thing I can clearly say ever since the coming of the government of President Muhammadu Buhari, not a single major high-profile judgment was entered against the federal government.

“ All the judgment debts in contention that we are battling to defend were indeed inherited judgment against in the interests of the Federal Government incurred by the previous administration.”

He also said the government, which recovered N3.2 billion  looted funds in the past 14 months, was grappling with N329 billion infrastructure funding gap.

“As it stands today, there exists a funding gap of around N329bn, and the Office of the Attorney General through these local, international and associated corporate recoveries on stamp duties, is making drastic efforts to assist the federal government,”  he added.

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