A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has granted the request of the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mohammed Bello Adoke, to extradite a Nigerian citizen, Rasheed Abayomi Mustapha, to the United States of America to face charges over a case of fraud and embezzlement of $798,907.62 in distribution cheques.
Justice Patricia Ajoku delivering judgement on the application by the AGF and after listening to the preliminary objections raised by counsel to Mustapha, Joseph Nwabike SAN, who argued that the court lacked jurisdiction to entertain the case, dismissed the preliminary objection raised by Mr. Nwabike.
Justice Ajoku said she was dismissing the application because the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria makes the court competent to determine the extradition of the accused person.
Mustapha and his collaborators were said to have conspired or attempted to steal $798,907.62 in distribution cheques. Of that amount, $750,651.48 were actually issued and deposited into bank accounts controlled by members of a syndicate he belonged to. The sum of $500,000 was withdrawn and distributed between Mustapha and his group.
Mustapha, 37, had returned to Nigeria after allegedly committing the crime in the United States. However, collaboration between the EFCC and the FBI led to his arrest by operatives of the EFCC in May last year.
The AGF consequently filed an extradition order before the Federal High Court, Lagos.
The AGF explained in the order that “… A request has been made to Nigeria by diplomatic representative of the Embassy of the United States of America, Abuja, for the surrender of Rasheed Abayomi Mustapha who is jointly a subject of a super ceding indictment in the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey, Case No.: 08-CR-429 and filed on the 31st day of October, 2011”