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Ribadu loses bid to ward off arrest warrant

January 5, 2010

Image removed.A legal attempt by the former chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, to avert his arrest and extradition by the Inspector General of Police suffered a setback today at the Federal High Court in Abuja as  Justice Garba Umar refused to set aside the warrant of arrest against him.  But relief may come his way next week as Justice Garba ordered the Inspector-General of Police boss to appear before him on the 13th of January to explain why the restraining order sought by Ribadu should not be granted.

Human rights attorney, Femi Falana, appearing for Ribadu, approached the court last month following the renewal of the warrant of arrest by the Code of Conduct Tribunal, which led the police to commence procedures that will lead to his arrest and extradition by Interpol. Ribadu drew attention of the court to how the Federal Government had directed all embassies not to issue his travel documents or issue new ones to him, a move he said was meant to contain him in the execution of his arrest and extradition.

The former anti-graft boss described this plan as extra judicial and an abuse of his liberty, stressing that the methods being employed by the Federal Government to extradite him are contrary to the laws on extradition proceedings.

Today, Ribadu argued that the Code of Conduct Tribunal as presently constituted is an arm of the Presidency which is responsible for the charges slammed against him at  the Tribunal and queried if it is constitutional for the Federal Government to be the prosecutor and the judge at the same time in a matter.

He also argued that his constitutionally-guaranteed right to a fair trial is being violated, and urged the court to set aside the order made against him by the Conduct Tribunal and to restrain the Police boss from executing the warrant pending the determination of his suit before the court.

It would be recalled that charges bordering on non-declaration of assets are hanging on Ribadu’s neck at the Tribunal and his failure to appear to face his trial by the Conduct Tribunal led to the issuance of the warrant of his arrest by the Tribunal Chairman; Justice Constance Momoh. The Inspector General of Police was ordered by the Tribunal to execute that warrant of arrest, but last month, the court discovered and acknowledged in session that Ribadu had actually declared his assets twice and on time, as required by law.


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