18 July 2014

Nigeria: Extradition of Ogwuche


THE successful extradition of suspected Nyanya motor park bomb mastermind, Aminu Sadiq Ogwuche restates the importance of international cooperation in the fight against terrorism. The dispatch with which the extradition processes was concluded was remarkable.

Shortly after the last April 14 bombing of the park which Abuja-bound workers, traders and other passengers patronise, the Directorate of State Services, DSS, paraded five suspects who reportedly played leading roles in the attack that claimed more than 70 lives and injured about 250. Rufai Tsiga and Ogwuche were declared wanted.

Ogwuche, the son of a retired military officer, was later identified as a terror suspect who was earlier arrested but was released, according to DSS because of "intense pressure from human rights activists who alleged human rights violation".

The security agencies said Ogwuche had fled to Sudan, a country with a thriving nursery for radical Islamists who have caused mayhem and made parts of Sudan ungovernable. Moves to extradite Ogwuche ran into an initial diplomatic blind end because there was no extradition protocol between the countries.

While the tension occasioned by the continued harbouring of Ogwuche by Sudan lasted, many Nigerians were worried that Sudan, led by General Omar Al Bashir, a fugitive, wanted by the International Court of Justice, in The Hague, for serial human rights violations in his country, would thwart the extradition efforts.

Sudan's refusal could have posed further threats to Nigeria. Terrorists attacking the North East would have found Sudan a haven. The cooperation of Sudan resulted in the signing of the protocol within months. Ogwuche is home to answer the charges of mass killing preferred against him in the Nyanya attack.

With internal cohesion of our security agencies and the cooperation of security agencies under the Interpol and other platforms, terrorists would soon realise that there are no hiding places for them.

This successful operation could reassure Nigerians, particularly those terrorist attacks affect directly, that the state would not relent in bringing suspects of the attacks to justice. It is a departure from the well-known trend where people who commit crimes could go scot-free.

A lot of work remains to be done. Thorough investigations are required to unearth the sources of resources terrorists use. There is the tendency to focus on their financial sources, but identification of sources that facilitate their escape abroad is equally important. Who aided Ogwuche's escape? Until these sources are blocked, terrorists would be encouraged to keep causing havoc.

The public has roles to play in the war against terror. The security agencies would be more successful with the public's support. A vigilant and security-conscious public that provides credible information to security agencies could shorten the duration of the war.


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