Hushpuppi: Still on Abba Kyari and extradition application setback

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The recent ruling by a Federal High Court in Abuja which dismissed the extradition application by the suspended deputy commissioner of police, Abba Kyari, to the United States to face criminal charges, has been generating mixed reactions with the allegation that the case was handled in a way to favour him. TOPE SUNDAY takes a look at the scenario.

On Monday, this week, a federal high court in Abuja dismissed an application by the federal government seeking to extradite the suspended deputy commissioner of police (DCP), Abba Kyari, to the United States to face criminal charges. Kyari is wanted in the United States over an alleged conspiracy to commit wire fraud, money laundering and identity theft.

Delivering judgment, Justice Inyang Ekwo, had held that the application filed through the office of the attorney-general of the federation (AGF) was “incompetent and bereft of merit.”

Ekwo also held that the AGF, being the chief law officer of the country, should be aware that the Extradition Act prevents the surrender of a defendant who is currently being tried by a local court of competent jurisdiction. The court questioned why the AGF had requested extradition since he had also given the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) a fiat to bring charges against Kyari relating to drug trafficking.

He said the law was clear that Kyari, having been arraigned 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.” He, however, dismissed the suit for being incompetent.

How it all started

In June 2020, a self-confessed international fraudster, Ramon Abbas, popularly known as Hushpuppi, was arrested by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) police and subsequently handed over to the FBI in the USA. He was accused of being involved in and conspired to commit several syndicated cyber fraud activities.

According to complaints filed by the Federal Prosecutors in the California Department of Justice on June 25, he allegedly laundered hundreds of millions of dollars from about 1.9 million victims mostly through what is known as Business Email Compromise (BEC).

Abbas has since pleaded guilty to the charges and the US court has fixed the date for sentencing for September 2022. Abbas in his confessional statement mentioned Nigeria’s highly celebrated police officer, Abba Kyari, as one of his co-conspirators.

According to the charge, Kyari arranged the arrest of a whistleblower, Vincent Kelly Chibuzo, at the request of Hushpuppi to prevent Chibuzo from interfering in the scheme of defrauding a victim of over $1,000,000. Also, in the detailed charge, Kyari allegedly held Chibuzor in custody for a month in order to prevent him from notifying the alleged victim of the impending fraud, and therefore, Kyari’s knowing involvement in the scheme allowed Hushpuppi to continue defrauding the victim undetected.

On April 29, 2021, an indictment against Kyari was filed by a grand jury with the approval of the US district court for the Central District of California, after which a warrant was issued for his arrest.

Also, in August 2021, the Inspector-General of Police, Usman Baba, received the report of a panel set up to probe the allegation against the officer. The report was thereafter sent to the AGF, who then filed an extradition application against Kyari on March 2.

The report was thereafter sent to the AGF, who then filed an extradition application against Kyari on March 2. However, Kyari has been cooling off at the Kuje Correctional Centre.


In his view, an Abuja-based legal practitioner, Barrister Tope Justice Ayodele, told this reporter that the federal government was not serious about extraditing the suspended police officer to the US, arguing that in the initial stage, Kyari’s on-going prosecution should have been dismissed.

He said the refusal of the government to discontinue his prosecution “is a vindication for those who have asserted that the drug allegations against him may just be a disguised attempt to shield him ab initio.”

“The extradition application against DCP Abba Kyari has been refused by the Federal High Court on the ground that Kyari is currently facing charges filed by the NDLEA. Section 3 of the Extradition Act makes it imperative for the prosecution of Kyari on the drug charges to be put on hold. This is because by the said provision, extradition applications will be refused by the court if the wanted fugitive is undergoing prosecution for another crime.

“Thus, if the Nigeria government is serious and honest about extraditing Kyari, it should ensure that the court discontinues the prosecution of Kyari because the charges ought not to have been filed in the first place during the pendency of extradition application. Refusal now is a vindication for those who have asserted that the drug allegations may just be a disguised attempt to shield Kyari abinitio,” he said.

A social media user, Jeffy Panalas, alleged that the extradition case against Kyari was a game, adding that drug cases surpassed extradition cases. He, however, noted that the US would always put him on the watch list.

Panalas said: “…Malami and the government knew this won’t sail through with ABBA Kyiari presently facing a serious drug charge in Nigeria. Drug cases surpass the one Kyiari’s extradition is being sought. This can only be done after discharge or on conviction, after serving. It’s a game but trust the United States, Kyari will always be on their watch list several years after.”

Another user, Chuks Nsionu, alleged that the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, perfected the plan for him to escape extradition.

“We knew what he (Malami) was doing from the onset because the position of law is clear on extradition of a suspect with pending criminal matter in Nigeria. It was only a script perfected to pave way for their own to escape justice. They are very good in protecting their own no matter what it takes. The case of DIG Danjuma and a few others are still very fresh in our memories,” he said.

For Stanley Buchi Okoli, Kyari was implicated for drugs to avoid being extradited, but he said any time he travelled out, he would be arrested and handed over to the FBI.

“Even that drug case Abba Kyari was implicated in was not real; it was part of the scheme, but eventually he must answer that case. Any day he steps out of the shores of Nigeria, any country he travels to will pick him up and hand him over to FBI,” Okoli said.

Ikechukwu Nwokedi said: “They quickly forced him to jail to avoid facing the law appropriately in the US… it’s a matter of time, his protection will soon be cracked when this government is shamefully let out of power.”

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