Nigeria’s federal government on Tuesday signed a string of agreements with the United Arab Emirates including that on the recovery and repatriation of stolen funds.
The agreements which were signed in Abu Dhabi were witnessed by President Muhammadu Buhari and the Crown Prince of the UAE, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
According to a statement issued by the Special Adviser to the president on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, the agreements cover trade, finance and judicial matters.
Adesina said Nigeria’s Minister of Justice Abubakar Malami (SAN) and his UAE counterpart, Sultan Bin Saeed Albadi signed the Judicial Agreements on Extradition, and Transfer of Sentenced Persons. The agreements also cover Mutual Legal Assistance on Criminal Matters, as well as Commercial Matters, including the recovery and repatriation of stolen wealth.
“This aspect of the pact holds the potential to trap billions of dollars in bank deposits and choice property suspected to have been acquired with proceeds of fraud. The pact would enable such funds to be frozen pending the prosecution and conviction of offenders and the repatriation of what they stole in Nigeria”, the statement read.
The deal could also block fraudulent transfer of funds to Dubai, which has lax laws unlike Europe and the United States, which have made it almost impossible for such transfers to take place.
Nigeria’s Minister of Finance Kemi Adeosun and the UAE Minister of State for Financial Affairs Obaid Attayar also signed the Avoidance of Double Taxation Agreement.
Adesina also disclosed that Nigeria’s Minister of Trade and Investment Mr Okechukwu Enelamah sealed agreement on Trade Promotion and Protection with the UAE Minister of State for Financial Affairs.
According to Adesina, during 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. “Buhari 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 (PBUH)”, Adesina said.
The presidential spokesman quoted Crown Prince Zayed Al Nahyan as saying that the relationship between Nigeria and the UAE would be strengthened by Buhari’s visit and the signing of the agreements.
By Olisemeka Obeche