The trial of Diezani Alison-Madueke, ex-Minister of Petroleum Resources, was on Monday, May 17, 2021, stalled due to the strike by the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria, JUSUN.
The matter, which was before a Federal High Court in Abuja presided over by Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu, was fixed for Monday, May 17, for the EFCC to report on its effort at extraditing Alison-Madueke to the country to stand her trial.
Although Justice Ojukwu had, on March 16, been transferred to a Calabar division of the court, the case was fixed following the absence of the EFCC’s lawyer, Farouk Abdullah, in court on March 3.
The case, which was earlier scheduled for the report or arraignment of the ex-minister, could not proceed as neither Abdullah nor Alison-Madueke was in court.
The court had, on December 3, 2020, adjourned the matter until March 3 following the inability of the anti-graft agency to fully comply with its orders in the trial of Alison-Madueke.
Ojukwu fixed the date after counsel to the anti-graft agency, Abdullah, prayed the court for more time to enable the EFCC to ensure full compliance with the court orders.
The judge had, on October 28, 2020, refused to grant the EFCC’s application seeking the court order on the issuance of a warrant of arrest against Alison-Madueke.
Ojukwu had held that an affidavit with evidence in support of proof that the earlier court summon granted the anti-graft agency had failed in the extradition of Alison-Madueke must be filed by the commission before another request could be made.
The judge noted that the anti-graft agency had informed the court that the Office of the Attorney General of the Federation, AGF, hinted that the arrest warrant was needed to further give the International Police, INTERPOL, the impetus to bring the defendant to Nigeria to answer to charges against her.
The judge, however, said it would give the EFCC a room to put its house in order in the trial of Alison-Madueke because court orders were not made in vain.
The EFCC had accused Alison-Madueke of fleeing the country to the UK, to escape justice, among others.
It would be recalled that the EFCC Chairman, Abdulrasheed Bawa, had, in the April edition of the agency’s in-house magazine, disclosed that commission recovered $153 million from Alison-Madueke.