Justice Bolaji Olajuwon of the Federal High Court in Abuja has ordered the immediate arrest of the former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke.
Naija News reports that the presiding judge gave the order on Monday following the application by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) counsel, Farouk Abdullah, for an arrest warrant against the ex-minister.
Recall that Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu was initially the presiding judge in the matter, but the case was reassigned to Justice Olajuwon, following the transfer of Ojukwu to the Calabar division of the court.
Ojukwu had, on October 28, 2020, rejected the EFCC’s prayer to issue a warrant of arrest against Alison-Madueke, citing the commission’s failure to enforce the earlier criminal summons.
But Abdullah had informed the court that the office of the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) needed an arrest warrant to enable law enforcement agencies to bring the defendant to Nigeria to answer to charges against her.
She then directed the EFCC counsel to file “an affidavit to that effect supported by evidence from the office of the attorney-general of the federation”.
Following Ojukwu’s transfer to Olajuwon, the court fixed November 3, 2021, for the EFCC to give a report on its effort at extraditing Alison-Madueke to the country to stand her trial, and for possible mention of the case.
But on the adjourned date, the case was stalled as neither the EFCC counsel nor Alison-Madueke was present in court.
The presiding judge then fixed today, Jan. 24, for the matter and adjourned for a report or for possible mention of the matter, but the defendant was not present in court to defend her trial.
At the court session on Monday, Abdullah told the court that all efforts by the agency to get the ex-minister extradited when the matter was before Ojukwu were unsuccessful.
Making an oral application, he submitted that an arrest warrant was required to enable the International Police Organisation (INTERPOL) to bring the defendant to Nigeria to face the allegations.
The judge granted the application for an arrest warrant and adjourned the matter sine die (indefinitely) pending when the defendant (Diezani) is arrested and produced in court.