Court dismisses suit for Abba Kyari’s extradition
Litigation height of hypocrisy, says HURIWA
Justice Inyang Eden Ekwo of the Federal High Court, Abuja has dismissed a suit filed by the Federal Government seeking to extradite the suspended Deputy Commissioner of Police, Abba Kyari, to the United States of America.
The judge, yesterday, held that the request by the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami (SAN), lacked merit and liable to dismissal.
The suit was to pave way for Kyari’s extradition to answer fraud charges in the American nation.
Justice Ekwo, however, held that the Federal Government had no basis to file the extradition request having put the embattled super cop on trial in Nigeria in relation to the allegations against him in America.
He pointed out that government’s request for extradition was “strange, incompetent and bereft of merit.”
“Malami, being the Chief Law Officer of the country, ought to be aware that the Extradition Act forbids the surrendering of a defendant that is already facing trial before a competent court in the country,” the judge added.
The court wondered why the AGF approached the court with the extradition application when he was equally the one that issued fiat to the National Drug Law Enforcement (NDLEA) to prosecute Kyari on drug-related charges.
“The AGF could not say that he was not aware of the pending proceedings against the defendant, which was entered against him by the NDLEA,” Justice Ekwo stated.
He said the law was clear that Kyari, having been put on trial before a court of competent jurisdiction in the country, “shall not be surrendered until such case has been discharged either by his conviction or acquittal.”
Consequently, the court held that the extradition request was incompetent and deserved to be dismissed.
Justice Ekwo had, on June 3, reserved the matter for judgment after he heard from the plaintiff’s lawyer, Pius Akutah, and that of Kyari, Nureni Jimoh (SAN).
While the Federal Government maintained that it had met all conditions precedent for the suspended DCP to be extradited to America to answer to a criminal charge, on the other hand, Kyari challenged the legal competence of the extradition request.
Kyari, who is currently in custody for drug-related charges, had told the court that contrary to the allegation against him, he had some months before Instagram celebrity, Ramon Abbas (popularly known as Hushpuppi), was arrested, sent a letter to both the AGF and Inspector General of Police (IGP), notifying them that he had opened a channel of communication with the suspected internet fraudster, in furtherance of an ongoing investigation.
IN its reaction, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA), yesterday, described the suit as grand hypocrisy.
Its National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, in a statement, said the AGF should have known better that the case of Kyari was a fait accompli since Kyari was facing drug-related crimes brought against him by the NDLEA with his blessing when he, as the chief law officer of the federation, could have authorised the extradition application to run its full course first.
“This was prearranged and predetermined long before this decision of the Federal High Court, which reflected the sinister plot of the AGF to frustrate the actual extradition of the Borno-born police officer to the United States of America (USA),” he stated.
Onwubiko continued: “The grand hypocrisy and shenanigan of the AGF in the DCP Abba Kyari’s case is now obvious.
“The action of the AGF is condemnable since he deliberately filed another matter against Kyari before seeking his extradition when as a lawyer, he ought to know that it is a fait accompli since under the law, you can’t extradite someone already facing a separate charge in Nigeria.
“It is important to ask the justice minister why he didn’t file the extradition suit about a year after Kyari was declared wanted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation until the NDLEA imbroglio. The whole drama, Nigerians know, was a planned script. HURIWA insists that justice be served on the matter to deter corrupt policemen like Kyari still in the force. The suspended DCP must not be protected but duly prosecuted. It is shocking that this same Attorney General of President Buhari is often in a mad rush to extradite southerners wanted in the USA but had to contrive a safe landing route for their man, Abba Kyari.”