Nigeria -US Extradition Treaty: What the Law says 

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Nigeria signed the Extradition Treaty with the United State in December 22, 1931 and entered into force in June 24, 1935. There is no public record showing the extradition of US citizens to Nigeria since the treaty became effective in 1935.The actual treaty was between the UK and the US. Automatically, Nigeria was bound by the treaty because it was a colony of the UK as at then. 


At Nigeria’s independence in 1960, the treaty became a statute of general application as was the case with all laws inherited from the colonial masters. Since then, it has been part of the nation’s legal system. After the military incursion into politics in 1966, there was an Extradition Decree of 1967 which later became Extradition Act, and it validated the existence of the treaty.


 According to the treaty the “contracting Parties engage to deliver up to each other, under certain circumstances and conditions stated in the present Treaty, those persons who, being accused or convicted of any of the crimes or offences enumerated in Article 3, committed within the jurisdiction of the one Party, shall be found within the territory of the other Party.” 


Specifically, Article 3 of the Treaty provides offences for which extradition can be granted. The Article states: manslaughter, administering drugs or using instruments with intent to procure the miscarriage of women; rape, unlawful carnal knowledge, or any attempt to have unlawful carnal knowledge, of a girl under 16 year of age; indecent assault if such crime or offence be indictable in the place where the accused or convicted person is apprehended; kidnapping or false imprisonment; child stealing, including abandoning, exposing or unlawfully detaining and abduction.


Other instances include: abduction, procuration: that is to say the procuring or transporting of woman or girl under age, even with her consent, for immoral purposes, or of a woman or girl over age, by fraud, threats, or compulsion, for such purposes with a view in either case to gratifying the passions of another person provided that such crime or offence is punishable by imprisonment for at least one year or by more severe punishment. 


Bigamy, maliciously wounding or inflicting grievous bodily harm, threats, by letter or otherwise, with intent to extort money or other things of value; perjury or subornation of perjury; arson, burglary or housebreaking, robbery with violence, larceny or embezzlement; fraud by a Bailee, banker, agent, factor, trustee, director, member, or public officer of any company, or fraudulent conversion. Obtaining money, valuable security, or goods, by false pretences; receiving any money, valuable security, or other property, knowing the same to have been stolen or unlawfully obtained. 


-(a) Counterfeiting or altering money, or bringing into circulation counterfeited or altered money. (b) Knowingly and without lawful authority making or having in possession any instrument, tool, or engine adapted and intended for the counterfeiting of coin. Forgery or uttering what is forged. Crimes or offences against bankruptcy law. Bribery, defined to be the offering, giving or receiving of bribes. Any malicious act done with intent to endanger the safety of any persons travelling or being upon a railway. Crime or offences or attempted crimes or offences in connection with the traffic in dangerous drugs. 


Malicious injury to property, if such crime or offence be indictable. -(a) Piracy by the law of nations. (b) Revolt, or conspiracy to revolt, by two or more persons on board a ship on the high seas against the authority of the master; wrongfully sinking or destroying a vessel at sea, or attempting to do so; assaults on board a ship on the high sea, with intent to do grievous bodily harm. Dealing in slaves; extradition is also to be granted for participation in any of the aforesaid crimes or offences, provided that such participation be punishable by the laws of both High Contracting Parties. 


In Article 4, “the extradition shall not take place if the person claimed has already been tried and discharged or punished, or is still under trial in the territories of the High Contracting Party applied to, for the crime or offence for which his extradition demanded. “If the person claimed should be under examination or under punishment in the territories of the High Contracting Party applied to, for any other crime or offence, his extradition shall be deferred until the conclusion of the trial and the full execution of any punishment awarded to him.” 


According to Article 5, “The extradition shall not take place if, subsequently to the commission of the crime or offence or the institution of the penal prosecution or the conviction thereon, exemption from prosecution or punishment has been acquired by lapse of time, according to the laws of the High Contracting Party applying or applied to.” 


Also, Article 9 stipulates that : “the extradition shall take place only if the evidence be found sufficient, according to the laws of the High Contracting Party applied to, either to justify the committal of the prisoner for trial, in case the crime or offence had been committed in the territory of such High Contracting Party, or to prove that the prisoner is the identical person convicted by the courts of the High Contracting Party who makes the requisition, and that the crime or offence of which he has been convicted is one in respect of which extradition could, at the time of such conviction, have been granted by the High Contracting Party applied to.”


Article I of the Mutual Legal Assistance states as follows – Scope of Assistance

1. The Contracting Parties shall, upon request and in accordance with the provisions of this Treaty, provide mutual assistance in connection with the investigation, prosecution, and prevention of crimes, and in proceedings related to criminal matters.

2. Such assistance shall include:

a) taking the testimony or statements of persons;

b)providing documents, records, and articles of evidence;

c) serving documents;

d) locating and identifying persons;

e) transferring persons in custody for testimony or other purposes;

f) executing requests for searches and seizures;

g) tracing, identifying, and immobilizing criminally obtained assets;

h) assisting in proceedings related to forfeiture, restitution, and collection of fines; and

i) any other form of assistance not prohibited by the laws of the Requested State.

3. Assistance shall be provided without regard to whether the conduct which is the subject of the investigation, prosecution, or proceedings in the Requesting State would constitute a crime under the laws of the Requested State.


Article II – Central Authorities

1. Each Contracting Party shall designate a Central Authority to make and receive requests pursuant to this Treaty.

2. For the United States of America, the Central Authority shall be the Attorney General or a person designated by him. For the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the Central Authority shall be the Attorney General of the Federation or a person designated by him.

3. The Central Authorities shall communicate directly with each other for the purposes of this Treaty.


Article III – Limitations on Assistance

1. The Central Authority of the Requested State may deny assistance if:

a) a request is not in compliance with the provisions of this Treaty:

b) the request relates to a political offense:

c) the request relates to an offense under military law which would not be an offense under ordinary criminal law: or

d) the execution of the request would be contrary to the Constitution of the Requested State or would prejudice the security or other essential national interests of that state.