The arrest of Nigeria's former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke, has been ordered by a Federal High Court in Abuja.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, through its counsel, Farouk Abdullah, made an application for a warrant of arrest for Alison-Madueke.
Justice Bolaji Olajuwon on Monday subsequently granted the request, News Agency of Nigeria reports.
The court had fixed November 3, 2021 for the anti-graft agency to give a report on its effort at extraditing Alison-Madueke to Nigeria country to stand her trial and for possible mention of the case.
However, on the adjourned date, the case was stalled as neither Abdullah nor Alison-Madueke was in sight.
Justice Olajuwon then fixed Monday, January 24 for the matter and adjourned for report or for possible mention of the matter.
Initially, the presiding judge in the case was Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu before it was later reassigned to Justice Olajuwon following the transfer of the former 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 the former minister, citing the commission’s failure to enforce the earlier criminal summons.
The commission had in requesting for the criminal summons in July 2020 claimed that it was required to facilitate the ex-minister’s extradition to Nigeria.
Faced with the failure of the ex-minister to honour the summons, the EFCC, through its lawyer, Abdullah, urged Justice Ojukwu to issue a warrant of arrest against her, saying that the extradition process failed as a result of the absence of the warrant of arrest.
The judge, who turned down the request, directed the lawyer to file an affidavit to that effect supported by evidence from the Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation, and adjourned for report and possible arraignment of the defendant.
However, when the matter was called on Monday, Abdullah was in court.
He told the court that all efforts by the agency to get the ex-minister extradited when the matter was before Ojukwu were unsuccessful.
Abdullah, who made an oral application for an arrest warrant, said the application was part of the requirements by the office of the AGF for the extradition.
He said that the arrest warrant was needed to further give the International Police the impetus to bring the defendant to Nigeria to answer to charges against her.
Justice Olajuwon then granted the application and adjourned the matter sine die pending when the defendant is arrested and produced in court.
NAN reports that Abdullah had, in an application, urged the court “to issue an arrest warrant against Alison-Madueke, who is believed to be in the UK to enable all law enforcement agencies and the INTERPOL to arrest her anywhere she is sighted and be brought before the court to answer to the allegation made against her before the court”.