Hushpuppi: Extradition Request by U.S. Govt not in Good Faith — Abba Kyari tells Court

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The suspended DCP Abba Kyari has told a Federal High Court, Abuja that the extradition request by the U.S. Government for his trial in the alleged internet fraud committed by Ramon Abbas, aka Hushpuppi, was not done in good faith.

Kyari, through his counsel, Nureni Jimoh, SAN, told Justice Inyang Ekwo, on Friday, while arguing his case on the incompetency of the suit brought against him by the office of the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF).

Kyari, who faulted the extradition process, said it lacked merit.

At the resumed proceeding, Justice Ekwo reminded parties that the matter was fixed for today (Friday) for hearing.

Shortly after the adoption of his applications, Nureni Jimoh, SAN, on behalf of Kyari, argued that the extradition process was incompetent and lacking in merit because the arrest warrant was not authenticated.

“The warrant of arrest was not signed. It was only certified and certification is not authentication,” he said, citing Sections 6 and 17 of the Extradition Act.

Jimoh stated that the three offences brought against his client were not within the provisions of the Extradition Act, urging the court to affirm that the application was incompetent.

The senior lawyer argued that the allegation that Kyari had a link with Hushpuppi was untrue.

He said the suspended police chief had earlier in two separate letters wrote to the International Criminal Police Organisation (INTERPOL) and the Inspector-General (I-G) of Police, informing them that he had opened a channel of communication with Hushpuppi.

He stated further that in the two letters tendered in court as exhibits, Kyari explained that the purpose was to give confidence to the suspected fraudster and lure him to come to Nigeria where an ambush was already laid for a sting operation by his own strike force.

Jimoh argued that the said two letters, written in January and March 2020, were not controverted by the AGF.

Reading from the counter affidavit deposed to by Mohammed Kyari, the respondent’s younger brother, in the open court, the lawyer said: “The respondent (Kyari) is a senior police officer in Nigeria carrying out sting investigation on Ramon Olorunwa Abbas or AbdulRahman Imraan Juma, otherwise known as Hushpuppi.

“A copy of the letter written by the respondent to the Interpol on Jan. 28, 2020 and to the Inspector General of Police on March 3, 2020 in respect of the sting investigation been carried out by the respondent are herewith attached as Exhibit 1a & 1b respectively.

“This was five months before the arrest of Ramon Abbas & others by the FBI.”

He argued that the request for the extradition was not supported by any document or verifiable evidence.

Besides, he said Kyari had received several international awards and honours, including in the U.S. where he received commendation award from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) for rescuing Americans kidnapped in Nigeria, arresting the kidnappers and arrest of murderers of a serving American soldier killed in Imo.

The lawyer described the move to extradite Kyari to the U.S. as “an international politics at play to interfere in Nigerian security system.

“There is no good reason to warrant the extradition process.”

He argued that the request was directed to undermine the crackdown on various crime gangs by Kyari in Nigeria and internationally, and had political undertone.

Jimoh stated that his client was confronted with series of charges to break him down because of his achievements and various national honours, citing a copy of the charge alleged to have been framed against him by the National Drug Law and Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) attached as Exhibits 2.

“The extradition request in fact is made for the purpose of persecuting and punishing the respondent on account of his race, nationality, and was not made in good faith nor in the interest of justice,” he said.

But counsel for the AGF, Pius Akutah, disagreed with Jimoh, urging the court to discountenance his argument.

He argued that the conditions precedent for extradition had been met by the American government with the filing of the charge against Kyari and a formal application that he be brought to establish his guilty or innocence in his indictment for internet fraud.

He said what was before the court was for the AGF to show cause why Kyari should be extradited to the U.S., citing previous cases to back his argument.

Akutah also urged the court to dismiss Kyari’s preliminary objection which asked the court to strike out the AGF’s application for failure to seek a leave of the court before filing it, citing a Supreme Court decision in a matter between Rasaki and another Vs. Ajijola and another.

Justice Ekwo, who sought to deliver verdict on the suit during the court vacation, fixed Aug. 29 for the judgment after counsel for the two parties agreed to the proposal.

“Vacation starts on July 18. If parties agreed, I can give judgement during vacation,” he said.

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