Appeal Court Okays the Extradition of ex-NSPM Boss Okoyomon to the UK
There is no respite yet for detained former Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Nigerian Security Printing and Minting Company (NSPM), Emmanuel Okoyomon as the Court of Appeal, Abuja has dismissed the appeal he filed against May 4, 2015 judgment of the Federal High Court, Abuja granting the Federal Government’s request to extradite him to the United Kingdom (UK).
Okoyomon is to be extradited to face trial in the UK where he has been accused of complicity in the bribery allegation, involving officials of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN NSPM and Securency International Pty of Australia between 2006 and 2008. Okoyomon is currently being held at the Kuje prison in Abuja.
A three-man panel of the Court of Appeal, in a unanimous judgment on June 6 this year, dismissed the appeal filed for Okoyomon by his lawyer, Alex Iziyon (SAN), and upheld the decision by the trial court, which confirmed the position argued by lawyer to the state, Pius Ukeyima Akutah.
The appellate court, which resolved three out of the four questions determined against him, held that, as against Okoyonmon’s contention, Nigeria has an obligation under the London Scheme for Extradition, within the Commonwealth, to extradite a person sought in respect of an extradition offence to another Commonwealth country.
“This provision is substantially supported by the provisions of sections 1 and 2 of the Extradition Act 2004. The lower court was right to have acted the way it did so as to avoid a situation whereby Nigeria could breach its obligations to threshold Commonwealth country, the UK.
“The provisions of the London Scheme for Extradition within the Commonwealth have been substantially enacted into law in Nigeria.
“The learned trial judge, in my humble view, rightly held that the respondent (the Attorney General of the Federation) made out a case why the application should be granted, while the appellant failed, by his defence, to convince the court why the application should be refused.
“The resolution of issue No.3 in favour of the appellant the appellant would not affect the final outcome of this appeal. This is so because the appellant has not shown how the failure to hear him on the point raised suo motu ( on his own) by the trial judge, on whether or not he is a British citizen, has occasioned any miscarriage of justice.
“The law is that to warrant an appeal court’s reversal of a lower court’s decision, the appellant must show that the failure to hear him on the point raised and resolved suo motu occasioned a miscarriage of justice.
“In this case, whether or not the appellant is a Britich citizen did not affect the merits of this application for an order for his extradition, which the trial court rightly found to be meritorious based on the facts supplied by the applicant (respondent in the appeal).
“Since the threshold issues in this appeal have been resolved against the appellant, this appeal ought to be dismissed. Accordingly, this appeal is hereby dismissed,” Justice Moore Ademein said in the lead judgment.
Other members of the panel, Justice Abdu Aboki and Justice Mohammed Mustapha agreed with Justice Adumein’s reasoning in the lead judgment
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