Acting chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu, has described the order to arrest a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke, within three days as an impossible task.
Valentine Ashi, a judge of the Federal Capital Territory High Court, had on Tuesday ordered the EFCC, the Department of State Services (DSS), and other security agencies to arrest Diezani within 72 hours.
But responding to the order during a media chat in Abuja on Wednesday, Magu said the task may not be possible because the former minister is being protected by foreign law enforcement agencies.
“I need less than 72 hours to produce Diezani but how can I get her? She is being protected by other law enforcement agencies outside this country. This is our predicament. If she were here, I would have arrested her.”
Asked to make further clarification on his statement, Magu explained, “The barrier is that other law enforcement agencies are involved in the matter. You know she is in the UK and we are making preparations to get her . We have already gone to court and this was part of the process of extradition; that is the court should declare that a warrant of arrest be issued against her and that we produce her within 72 hours.”
Magu, who noted that all law enforcement agencies in the world had been informed of Diezani’s status as a person of interest in Nigeria, added that “Even when the Italians visited us recently , they were asking questions about her.”
The EFCC boss also revealed that about 60 per cent of looted funds were still in Nigeria and that the commission could only succeed through the cooperation of Nigerians.
According to Magu, about 80 per cent of stolen Nigerian wealth was still hanging.
“More than 80 per cent of the loot outside the country is still hanging. Ask them why it is so difficult to repatriate these funds when it has been established that this money came from Nigeria and you know that this person does not own this money.
“There is no justification. It is not a small amount of money. We have over $300 million hanging in the Jersey Island, a UK foreign territory,” he said.
On the forthcoming 2019 elections, the EFCC acting chairman said the commission would work hand in hand with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to make sure taxpayers’ money is not used for the polls.