Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation, Mr Abubakar Malami, has said that Nigeria stands to derive immense benefit from the ratification of the agreement for the transfer of sentenced persons between Nigeria and the Government of the Macao; Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China.
President Muhammadu Buhari had on Friday, assented to the Instrument of Ratification of the Agreement on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons between the two parties.
This is sequel to the Federal Executive Council Conclusion of August 1, 2018, which approved and directed the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice to prepare the Instrument of Ratification of the above Agreement for the President’s signature.
According to Malami, the objective of the Agreement was to enable the sentenced persons to return to their places of origin for the continuation of their sentences where language or cultural barriers are non-existent, and friends and relatives pay regular visits, which could facilitate and enhance their rehabilitation.
According to him, the ratification of the agreement could enhance the image of the country as responsive to the need of its citizens as well as guarantee the political and constitutional rights of Nigerians.
With the agreement, persons in the Correctional Service Centers of both countries who wish to serve their sentences in their home countries would be enabled to do so.
He disclosed that Nigeria signed the Agreement with the Macao special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China on 1st June, 2018 pointing out that Article 17(1) of the Agreement provides that each party shall notify the other in writing upon completion of the required internal procedure.
Malami disclosed that the transfer of sentenced persons under the Agreement was subject to the consent of the transferring and receiving parties and the sentenced person(s).
He added that where in view of age or physical or mental condition either party considered it necessary, the sentenced persons consent may be given by a person entitled to act on his behalf.
Malami reiterated that Article 12 of the agreement had indicated that the cost of the transfer and transportation of sentenced persons should be borne by the transferring parties until the time of the delivering of the sentenced persons to the jurisdiction of the receiving party.
He stated that the parties would facilitate the transfer of property, assets and equity instrument of a sentenced person that is not confiscated by law.
The Minister added that the parties are also to ensure that the sentenced persons would be aware of his/her property rights and guarantee assets to legal counsel and aid.