Garba Umar, the head of the National Central Bureau (NCB), INTERPOL Nigeria, on Thursday, revealed that the government of the United Kingdom (UK) turned down their request to repatriate former minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke.
Umar, who is an Assistant Inspector-General of Police (AIG), revealed this. while appearing before the House of Representatives Ad Hoc Committee to Investigate Alleged Loss of Over $2.4bn in Revenue from Illegal Sale of 48 Million Barrels of Crude in 2015 Including Crude Oil Exports from 2014 Till Date.
While being quizzed by members of the committee, the AIG noted that the Nigerian government followed due process in seeking mutual legal assistance from the United Kingdom but the demand was ignored as the ex-minister also went to court in the UK to frustrate the process.
Umar explained why the move was successful in the cases of a former Chairman of the defunct Pension Reform Task Team, Abdulrasheed Maina; and a former Attorney-General of the Federation, Bello Adoke.
“In respect of assistance – seeking for assistance, if you remember, we repatriated many Nigerians who were alleged to have swindled the Nigerian Government. I went personally and brought Maina from (Republic of) Niger.
“I brought the former Attorney-General of the Federation from Dubai and many other Nigerians who absconded. We brought them back to face justice and those who are in Nigeria, hiding, we took them back to their various countries to face justice,” he said.
“The NCB deals with the head of all correspondences in respect of request for assistance come to my table. They write to me EFCC, NIS, all other agencies asking me to assist them on a matter. All I need to do just like what the chairman said is to scrutinize the papers, go through the documents that was brought before me.
“You can’t place somebody on a watchlist or red notice, ordinarily would have done it but I can’t do that because they have to show me evidences and we have to help from the other person, it’s the normal procedure Mr Chairman. I am not privy to the investigation and I am also not privy to the action of what the ministry of justice or the court are doing. All I know I receive a request and in the normal process Mr chairman and honourable members of this committee, it is my duty, it is my responsibility to check before I act on any duty. If you ask interpol the National headquarters, the IGP that are we investing? Like I told you interpol does not Investigate but NCB does because NCB is local police. They are just like catalyst like I told you between the law enforcement agencies and the interpol.”
Jude Ngaji, a member of the committee, representing Ogoja/Yala Federal Constituency in Cross River State at the House, specifically asked why the Nigerian authorities had been unable to bring Alison-Madueke back to the country to face trial.
Responding, Umar said, “The issue of Diezani, a warrant of arrest was issued. I am sorry to say the government of the UK turned down our request. We followed the MLA – you can check, that is Mutual Legal Assistance – to bring her back home. She went to court because, according to them, they have a system where they check our…let me not go there.”