By Olanrewaju Oyedeji
Dubai, one of the very popular travel destinations for the Nigerian elite has joined the list of battleground spots in which Nigeria’s war against corruption is being fought.
This follows the signing today between the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in Abu Dhabi of six new agreements to enhance bilateral relations between them.
According to a statement from the Special Adviser to the President (Media & Publicity), Mr Femi Adesina one of the new agreements is a Judicial Agreement on Extradition, Transfer of Sentenced Persons, Mutual Legal Assistance on Criminal Matters, and Mutual Legal Assistance on Criminal and Commercial Matters, which includes the recovery and repatriation of stolen wealth. He said the agreement was signed by Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, and his counterpart in the United Arab Emirates, Sultan Bin Saeed Albadi.
It will be recalled that the absence of such a protocol had created an initial stumbling block in efforts to prosecute former Delta State Governor, James Ibori when he fled to the emirate for refuge after a stand-off with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission at Oghara, Delta State, Nigeria.
The former governor was however to be convicted of money laundering charges in the United Kingdom and is still serving time in a London jail..
According to Adesina, “The signing of the agreements on trade, finance and judicial matters was witnessed by President Muhammadu Buhari and the Crown Prince of the United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
“Nigeria’s Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, and the UAE Minister of State for Financial Affairs, Obaid Attayar, signed the Avoidance of Double Taxation Agreement, while the Minister of Trade and Investment, Mr Okechukwu Enelamah, signed the Agreement on Trade Promotion and Protection with the UAE Minister of State for Financial Affairs.”
Adesina said that at a reception after the signing of the agreements, President Buhari reiterated his commitment to fighting corruption and restoring Nigeria’s dignity in the comity of nations.
“The President also urged all Islamic countries to support the fight against terrorism in Nigeria and denounce the atrocities of Boko Haram as un-Islamic and against the teachings of the Holy Prophet,” Adesina said, adding: “In his remarks, Crown Prince Zayed Al Nahyan said that the relationship between Nigeria and the UAE will be strengthened by President Buhari’s visit and the signing of the agreements.”