I heard the Nigeria Police Service Commission questioned the legality of the US Court to give an order to arrest a Nigerian citizen. This responsive punching on the US judiciary was premised on the principle of sovereignty conferred on Nigeria, customary, as against external forces.

However, I think it is ignorance on the part of the Nigeria Police that made the commission to arrive at that quizzing. Below are my reasons and justification of my opinion:

  1. Cybercrime basically is argued to be borderless. However, where the crime is committed against a foreigner in a sovereign nation, and where the act was completed in that foreign nation in the nation’s space; that nation can exercise jurisdiction. This can extend even to those who aided and abated (necessary accessories after the fact), including all those who intentionally supported in the commission of the crime.
  2. Extradition Treaties: As against extraordinary rendition, where state parties sign and ratify conventions of extradition, such procedures can be followed for foreigners to be so extradited. Nigeria is said to have an existing treaty with the US on extradition.

There could even be exceptions, where International Court like ICC demands for the presence of someone who has committed crimes against humanity, which itself is recognized by state practice and general Customary International Law.

But in the case of Nigeria and the USA, Nigeria signed the Extradition Treaty of 1931, with the United States on December 22, 1931 and entered into force on June 24, 1935. There is no record of its revocation or repealing after 1960. Besides, there are records extradition done by the Nigerian Government to the US after Independence.

  1. Extra Territorial Jurisdiction: Some crimes attract the feature of extra-territorial jurisdiction under International Law, such that through treaties, a nation can be permitted to prosecute a foreigner who committed a crime in another country and ran into that country of interest. Example of such crimes is Terrorism.

Illustration: A commits crime in Black country, and runs to Yellow Country. Yellow country prosecutes A for the crime committed in Balck Country.


See the State v. Henry Okah. In this case, Henry Okah was prosecuted for bombing done in Nigeria. He was however prosecuted in South Africa for bombing done in Nigeria. South Africa invoked the principle of extra- territorial jurisdiction.

  1. Effect of Foreign Court Orders or Judgements: They are not all together enforceable automatically. They translate as “first-instance” measure which will set in motion the process of extraditing the suspect to the other nation. The order is for the FBI to arrest and not to invade Nigeria and arrest without regard to the nation’s sovereignty.

FBI is to liaise with Nigeria to perfect it following due procedure. Foreign judicial order is not alien to Nigerian legal system. For instance, even foreign civil spirited judgements are enforced in Nigeria following due process.

Hope this expounds the issue better..

With Regards..
Ebi Robert

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