Extradition: Court grants music promoter, Lati Alagbada, bail pending appeal

A Lagos Federal High Court, has ordered the release of a foremost music producer, Alhaji Lateef Alagbada, who is to be extradited to United States of America (USA), over alleged drugs related offences, from the custody of International Police, INTERPOL.

Alagbada a music promoter who promoted Late Fuji Maestro, Sikiru Ayinde Barrister and many others, is wanted in the United States of America (USA) over alleged drug related offences.

The court presided over by Justice Sule Hassan, gave the release order, while ruling in a bail pending appeal application, filed by the music promoter’s lawyer, Dr. Babatunde Oni.

Justice Hassan, had sometimes in  May, 2020, ordered the extradition of the music promoter, while delivering judgment on an extradition application brought against him by the AGF.

The judge gave the extradition order after listening to submissions of Mr. Akutah Pius Ukeyima, a Chief State Counsel, International Cooperation Department and Dr. Oni, lawyer to the music promoter.

Justice Hassan, had specifically, granted AGF 15 days to extradite the music promoter, to face prosecution on alleged drugs related offences in USA.

Not satisfied with Justice Hassan’s judgment and due to inability of the AGF to extradite the music promoter within 15 days as ordered by the court, owing to the deadly pandemic ravaging the whole world, Dr. Oni, lawyer to the music producer, approached the court, for bail pending appeal’s application.

Alagbada’s application was not challenged by the AGF, the development, which paved way for his release from the INTERPOL detention facility, where he has been kept since September 2019.

In granting the music promoter bail pending appeal, Justice Hassan, held that: “the applicant apply for bail pending appeal, there were evidences that defendants were served but did not respond. It is trite law that an undefended suit is deemed as an admission in law.

“Am obliged to rely on all supporting affidavit. I’m also aware that the applicant has filed an appeal against the judgement of this court, records of appeal compiled and transfered with appeal number entered.

“Since this court granted an extradition order the respondents have not taking any step. Am also aware of the fact that there is a travel ban as a result of Covid-19.

“Consequently, bail is granted in the sum of N5 million with one surety, who must be a public servant not below Grade Level 15 or a landed property owner. Title documents to be verified by Deputy Court Registrar (DCR),  While in the case of Civil Servant, a letter of authentication from his office. The surety is to deposit two passport photographs.

The AGF had in a suit marked FHC/L/CS/2212/19, sought an order of the court to extradite the music producer, Alagbada, to USA to face two counts charge of conspiracy to distribute, possess and importation of one kilogram of heroine.

To secure the extradition order against Alagbada, the AGF in an affidavit deposed to by Henry Tekemeka, an Executive Officer, at the Central Authority Unit, International Cooperation Department, Federal Ministry of Justice, Abuja, averred that the United States of America has submitted a request to him to the Extradition of Alagbada Lateef and that he is satisfied that provision is made by the Laws of the United States of America, such that so long as Alagbada Lateef has not had reasonable opportunity of returning to Nigeria, he will not be detained or tried In that Country for any offence committed before his surrender other than the extradition offence which may be proved by the fact on which his surrender is granted. 

He stated that he is satisfied that the request for the surrender of Alagbada Lateef was not made for the purpose of prosecuting or punishing him on account of his race, religion, nationality or political opinions. And that the said request was made in good faith and in the interest of justice. Adding that Alagbada Lateef, if eventually surrendered, will not be prejudiced at his trial and will not be punished, detained or restricted in his personal liberty, by reason of his race, nationality or political opinions. 

He stated further that he is satisfied that the offence for which Alagbada Lateef’s surrender is sought is not trivial In nature or that having regard to all the circumstances in which the offence was committed it will not be unjust or oppressive, or be too severe a punishment, to surrender him. Adding that he is satisfied that Alagbada Lateef has been indicted of the offence for which his surrender is sought but that he is unlawfully at large.

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