The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has handed over a Nigerian fugitive, Emmanuel Ekhator, to a court in the United States, the anti-corruption agency, has said. Making the disclosure, EFCC chairman Farida Waziri, said Ekhator was the third Nigerian fugitive to be handed over to the US authorities by the Commission. One George Ubeozor, in 2008, and Sunday Adebisi Adegbesan in 2009, were extradited and handed over both to the authorities in New York.
Two other persons, Mrs. Waziri said, are presently awaiting extradition to the U.S. Ehkator was indicted in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania on November 3, 2010 over a $32 million Internet scam. He was arrested by EFCC operatives in Benin City, Edo State in August 2010 following top level exchange of information between U.S. law enforcement agents and the EFCC over the activities of a trans-border ring of internet scammers Ekhator headed.
The extradition process, which was filed through the office of the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, was eventually approved by a Federal High Court in Lagos on July 26, 2011. The suspect was flown to the U.S. last Wednesday and handed over to a District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania on Thursday by an officer of the EFCC.
Ekhator’s indictment and extradition is significant because it is one of the rare cases of successful international action concerning Internet scams, which have given Nigeria a bad name.