Court gives AGF nod to extradite Nigerian fraudster to US for trial

Ogunsakin Mustapha
5 Min Read
Federal High Court, Lagos

A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has authorised the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) extradite one Samuel Olasunkanmi Abiodun to the United States of America to face trial for alleged wire fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering.

Both offences carry a maximum jail term of 20 years.

Justice Akintayo Aluko gave the order on June 14, 2024, following the AGF’s application filed and argued by Kehinde Adesola Fagbemi of the Federal Ministry of Justice.

Specifically, the Federal Government prayed for the surrender/extradition of Abiodun, the Respondent, to face two counts:

“Wire fraud, in violation of Title 18, United States Code (U.S.C), Section 1343, carrying a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years.

Count 2: Conspiracy to commit money laundering, in violation of Title 18, United States Code (U.S.C), Section 1956 (h), carrying a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years”.

Abiodun, thought his counsel, Demola Adekoya denied the allegations, and challenged, among others, the court’s power to order his extradition.

But, evaluating the evidence against him, Justice Aluko found that the Federal Government provided sufficient evidence to show that Abiodun had a case to answer in America.

He reasoned that the respondent misconceived the issues of the Treaty between Nigeria and the United States authorising the court to grant an extradition request.

Justice Aluko held: “Leveraging on the decision of the apex court, the extradition Treaty between the United States of America and Great Britain signed in London on 22 December, 1931 is recognized as binding on Nigeria and enforceable in the instant case.

“Against the background of the foregoing, the sole issue in this judgment is resolved in favour of the Applicant against the Respondent.

“To this end, there is merit and substance in the instant application. Judgment is entered for the Applicant in the following terms:

“The application of the Hon. Attorney General of the Federation for the surrender and extradition of the Respondent, Samuel Olasunkanmi Abiodun to the United States of America is hereby granted.

“The Respondent is further committed to prison custody and shall remain in the facility of the Nigerian Correctional Service to await the decision of the Hon. Attorney-General of the Federation for his surrender to the United States of America for the purpose of facing his trial.

“The Attorney General of the Federation of Nigeria shall ensure and see to it that special arrangements are put in place for the Respondent’s fair trial and defence under the Laws of the Requesting country (USA) to the extent that the Respondent is not prejudiced on account of his race, religion, nationality and to ensure that his trial shall be limited to the extradition offence provable by the facts on which his surrender is granted devoid of any superficial sentiments. considerations and

According to a certified true copy of the judgment seen by our correspondent, the Respondent denied the allegations of the Applicant while claiming that he lived all his life in Nigeria and that he had never travelled to the US.

He claimed neither had any business/romantic relationship with anyone in the US, nor did he commit any offence either in Nigeria or in the US

He added that he did not co- conspire with anyone to commit money laundering or deal in wire fraud against one J. S., a student at the Kutztown University within the Eastern District of Pennsylvania (now deceased as claimed by the Applicant).

The Respondent said that he did not use snapchat or have a persona of “ALICE_D013” allegedly used to demand money from J.S. and that he had never been tried or convicted by any Court in Nigeria for the offence being alleged against him.

Furthermore he claimed that he was just a victim of persecution for being a friend to someone who was tagged as “a friend from WhatsApp” while conducting a lawful business operated by a registered cryptocurrency platform called Binance with which he is lawfully registered.

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