The Muhammadu Buhari government has approved the request by the United States of America for the extradition of suspended Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) Abba Kyari.
The US had demanded Kyari’s extradition over his alleged involvement in the $1.1million wire fraud perpetrated by Abass Ramon, aka Hushpuppi, and four others.
Nigeria has now granted permission via the extradition application filed by the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN) before the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court in Abuja.
Observers believe that, considering Kyari’s rank and connections within Nigeria’s ruling class, his extradition to the US could only have been approved by President Buhari.
Malami’s application to start the process was marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/249/2022 and filed under the Extradition Act.
The AGF said the application followed a request by the Diplomatic Representative of the US Embassy in Abuja.
The request is “for the surrender of Abba Alhaji Kyari, who is a subject in a superseding three counts indictment”
The AGF said he was satisfied that the offence in respect of which Kyari’s surrender is not political nor is it trivial.
The AGF also expressed satisfaction that the request for the surrender of Kyari was not made to persecute or punish him on account of his race, religion, nationality or political opinions but in good faith and the interest of justice.
He said Kyari, “if 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”.
The AGF said 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.
Malami said he was also satisfied that Kyari has been accused of the offence for which his surrender is sought.
He noted that there was no criminal proceeding pending against Kyari in Nigeria for the same offence.
A jury in April 2021 filed an indictment against Kyari with the approval of the US District Court and demanded Kyari stand trial for conspiracy to commit wire fraud, money laundering and identity theft.
Consequently, the US Embassy requested Kyari’s extradition saying, “On April 29, 2021, based on the indictment filed by the grand jury and with the approval of the United States District Court for the Central District of California, a deputy clerk of the court issued a warrant of arrest for Kyari.
“The arrest warrant remains valid and executable to apprehend Kyari for the crimes with which he is charged in the indictment.
“Kyari is wanted to stand trial in the United States for conspiracy to commit wire fraud and money laundering, and identity theft.
“Kyari is the subject of an indictment in case Number 2:21-cr-00203 (also referred to as 2:21-MJ-00760 and 2:21-CR-00203-RGK), filed April 29, 2021, in the United States District Court for the Central District of California.”
Kyari was accused of conspiring with a United Arab Emirates (UAE)-based Nigerian, Ramon Abbas, aka Hushpuppi to commit the crime.
The charges against Kyari reads, “Count one: Conspiracy to commit wire fraud, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1349, carrying a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years;
“Count two: Conspiracy to commit money laundering, in violation of Title 18, United States Code Section 1956(h), carrying a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years.
“Count three: Aggravated identity theft, and aiding and abetting that offence, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 1028A(a)(1) and 2(a), carrying a maximum term of imprisonment of two years.
Meanwhile, Kyari is currently in the custody of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) for his alledged involvement in drug trafficking.