Court Blocks Extradition Of Nigerian Child Trafficker To Netherlands

An application by the federal government seeking to extradite a man identified as Kingsley Edegbe to Netherlands so he could be tried over allegations of human trafficking, has been struck out by a federal high court siting in Abuja.

The application brought through the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, sought for the court’s approval for the extradition of Edegbe to the Netherlands for trial following a request by the Dutch government.

The trial judge, Justice Ahmed Ramat Mohammed had in his ruling delivered Tuesday, held that the application is incompetent, and that the court lacks the jurisdiction to entertain it.

“The court has not been shown any extradition treaty between Nigeria and the Netherlands upon which the application sought could have been granted. The reliance on the United Nation’s convention against transnational organised crime is not an extradition treaty act as envisaged by section 1 of the extradition act of Nigeria” the judge stated.

The court further noted that the African charter was clearly domesticated and that Nigeria has extradition treaty with South Africa which has also been domesticated and therefore insisted that it is not prepared to hold that an extradition treaty exits between Netherlands and Nigeria when there is none.

“It is a dangerous precedent to abandon an existing law to enable the extradition of the suspect. There is no competent application before this court for the extradition of the suspect. This is hereby struck out” said the judge.

The extradition, according to the Nigerian government, is to enable Edegbe face six counts of human trafficking that had been instituted against him in Netherlands.

The suspected trafficker is allegedly wanted in Netherlands for belonging to an international syndicate involved in the trafficking of Nigerian girls to Netherlands for prostitution and other related acts.

His lawyer, Victor Ebonka, had opposed the application for extradition. He urged the court to refuse it and contended that the court could not order the extradition of his client because the country had yet to meet the requirement.

He averred that, not only was there no valid extradition treaty between Nigeria and Netherlands, that the National Assembly had also not domesticated TOC by enacting a distinct law to that effect. He argued that the nation’s Extradition Act could not take the place of Extradition Treaty between both countries.