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FG opposes repatriation of Nigerian in US jail

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The ECOWAS Court of Justice, on Thursday, dismissed a suit by a Nigerian, Richard Ugbah, asking the court to order the United States of America government to allow him to complete his jail sentence in Nigeria.

Ugbah is serving a 12-year jail term in the US after he was convicted on February 14, 2017, of wire fraud.

He has served eight years of the sentence and will be due for release on May 8, 2026.

In the suit marked: ECW/CCJ/ APP/ 18/21, Ugbah urged the court to order his repatriation to Nigeria, having satisfied the conditions for transfer in the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime Handbook on the International Transfer of Sentenced Persons.

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However, in a preliminary objection, the Federal Republic of Nigeria contended that the application was incompetent and against the provision of Articles 9 and 10 of Article Supplementary Protocol.

The FG noted that the Ministry of Justice, which was the second respondent, was neither a community institution nor a signatory to the ECOWAS Treaty.

It, however, urged the court to dismiss the application, adding that the court lacked the jurisdiction to entertain the matter.

Reading the lead judgment, Justice Sengu Koroma held that the court lacked jurisdiction to hear the matter.

The court also stated that the applicant had not shown a valid reason for their complaint against the respondent.

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“The matter of competence is a legal issue and the argument presented by the applicant has no legal basis vesting the court with the authority to hear and determine the case,” the court held.