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Anti-graft war gets bite as Buhari signs 3 bilateral agreements

.Okays legal assistance in criminal, civil, commercial matters

.Endorses extradition, prosecution of citizens with ill-gotten wealth

Nigeria’s anti-corruption crusade gained a major boost on Thursday as President Muhammadu Buhari signed three key agreements with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and three other countries.

This will now make it possible for Nigeria to extradite and prosecute its citizens who launder ill-gotten wealth in the UAE.

Speaking at the State House during the signing ceremony, Buhari said that the instruments would reinvigorate the anti-graft war and check illicit flow of funds from Nigeria to other countries.

The President noted that the full implementation of the agreements had been delayed due to the need by both sides to conclude their respective ratification processes.

But he described the signing of the agreements as an important milestone in demonstrating the sovereign capacity of fulfilling the country’s international obligations.

He said that the government has taken important steps for the benefit of the economy, security and the anti-corruption war.

Buhari said: “It is my hope that these instruments will reinvigorate the anti-corruption war and check the illicit flow of funds out of our country to other jurisdictions, improve national security, food security, boost our economic and tax regimes and improve the overall well-being of our creative community.

“With this sovereign act, which has been replicated in the United Arab Emirates by their responsible authorities, we are now in a position to utilise these agreements fully to foster cooperation between our respective authorities particularly for the purpose of prosecuting the anti-corruption campaign of this government.

The signed agreements are agreement on mutual legal assistance in criminal matters, agreement on mutual legal assistance in civil and commercial matters, agreement on the transfer of convicted persons and an extradition treaty.

The President said, “I am happy to note therefore, that pursuant to a Memorandum presented to the federal executive council by the honourable attorney-general of the federation and minister of justice, council has approved the ratification of the said agreements.

“I am delighted to perform today, the duty of executing Instruments of Ratification of certain Agreements on behalf of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, pursuant to the powers conferred on me by Section 5(1) (a) and (b) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) and Article 7 of the Vienna Convention on the law of treaties of 1969.

The Daily Times recalls that Dubai, the commercial city in UAE, is a favourite destination for corrupt Nigerian government officials who invest heavily in real estate and other businesses.

The president also signed agreements with other countries to improve the security in the country and stabilise the economy.

Others are Charter for the Lake Chad Basin between Nigeria, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Libya, Niger and the Republic of Chad; African tax administration forum agreement on mutual assistance in tax matters and world intellectual property organisation performances and phonograms treaty.

Also signed were agreements on the world intellectual property organisation treaty on audiovisual performances and the Marrakesh treaty to facilitate access to published works for persons who are blind, visually impaired or otherwise.

Mathew Dadiya, Abuja

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