The Federal Government has filed an application for the commencement of extradition process of suspended Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) Abba Kyari at the Federal High Court (FHC), Abuja.
The Federal Government, through the Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), filed the application on Wednesday marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/249/2022.
It was filed under the Extradition Act, as part of Nigeria government’s approval of the request by the US for Kyari’s extradition.
Kyari, formerly the head of the Inspector-General of Police Intelligence Response Team, is to stand trial for conspiracy to commit wire fraud, money laundering and identity theft.
He was accused of conspiring with a United Arab Emirates (UAE)-based Nigerian, Ramon Abbas, aka Hushpuppi, to commit the crime.
A grand jury, on April 29, 2021, had filed an indictment against Kyari with the approval of the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, and the court issued a warrant of arrest for him.
Against this development, the AGF and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN, filed the application before the Chief Judge of the FHC, Justice John Tsoho, for Kyari’s extradition.
The AGF said the application followed a request by the Diplomatic Representative of the U.S. Embassy in Abuja.
It is “for the surrender of Abba Alhaji Kyari, who is a subject in a superseding three counts indictment”.
In the affidavit filed in support of the extradition application, the AGF stated that he was satisfied that provision is made by the laws of the U.S. such that so long as Kyari has not had a reasonable opportunity of returning to Nigeria, he will not be detained or tried for any offence committed before his surrender other than the extradition offence which can be proved by the fact on which his surrender is sought.
He added that he was satisfied that the offence in respect of which Kyari’s surrender is sought 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 added that 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.
According to court documents, the three count-charge marked: 2:21-cr-00203-RGK, was filed on April 29, 2021, before the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, USA.
However, the case was yet to be assigned to a judge as at the time of filing the report.
NAN reports that Kyari and five other police officers are undergoing interrogation by the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) over allegations bordering on drug trafficking.
Justice Zainab Abubakar of a FHC had, on Feb. 22, gave the NDLEA a go-ahead to detain Kyari and six others in custody for another 14 days to conclude its investigation.
His application for bail was, on Monday, turned down by a sister court, presided over by Justice Inyang Ekwo, on the grounds that a court of coordinate justification had already granted an order for his further detention.
The suspended DCP had challenged the order made on Feb. 22 by Justice Abubakar, empowering the NDLEA to detain him for more days.
In an application filed by his counsel, Kyari prayed the court to set aside the order for his detention, arguing that the order was issued without him being accorded a fair hearing.
The court had fixed a hearing in Kyari’s application for March 8.