Kyari: Drug-related offenses will not prevent extradition to the United States — Lawyers - OLAMORE
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Kyari: Drug-related offenses will not prevent extradition to the United States — Lawyers

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Some senior lawyers have said that the planned extradition of the arrested DCP Abba Kyari over bribery allegation levelled against him by one, Ramon Abbas, also known as Hushpuppi to United States supersedes being tried here for alleged drug related offences.

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The lawyers hinged their submissions on the principle of “first in time” of the commission of crime. Hushpuppi is standing trial before US District Court over a multimillion dollar fraud, while Kyari about few days ago, was arrested by the NDLEA over alleged drug related offences.

Recently, the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN), had on a national television said that the Federal Government and the US government have been discussing plans on Kyari’s extradition.

Speaking on the process of extradition, an Abujabased lawyer and anticorruption crusader, Tosin Ojaomo, noted that issue of warrant of arrest from a foreign jurisdiction has to follow legal procedure. He said: “I have seen the comments of people that Kyari should be arrested and taken to America.

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No, it does not work like that. The law must be followed to the letter. If he must be taken to US, there must an extradition proceedings. He cannot be arrested and be bundled into the plane to US. “But for our reputation as a country, we must play our part, when it comes to international obligations. We must co-operate to ensure that allegations of crime are thoroughly investigated and anybody culpable should face the law.

“Nobody is saying that the Cop has done anything but there is an allegation against him. And the allegation is a weighty allegation. He owes Nigerian people a duty to ensure that his name is cleared. “Nobody is saying he is guilty. The due process of the law should be followed to ensure that justice is done.

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It is a trite principle of law that where there is a procedure for doing an act by the law, that procedure must be followed”. In his own reaction, a former President of Public Interest Lawyers, Dr. Abdul Mahmud, noted that the crime alleged to have been committed is an international crime that involved organized crime.

“In such crime, there are inter- jurisdictional framework for arresting individuals that are alleged to have committed international crime.

There are also inter- jurisdictional framework for compelling an individual who has been interdicted by a foreign country to appear before it. “Two things here: I expect the FBI has served the interdiction papers on the charges against Kyari through his employer, the Nigerian Police.

“I just read the response of the Nigerian Police that the IGP has ordered an internal review of the allegation against him.

That presupposes that they are in receipt of the charges already. “An individual, who is being sought for, can on his own because it is a question of innocence here. He is still innocent before the law. It is a mere criminal allegation.

If the individual feels that he has not committed the crime, he can jump into the plane, go to the country where he is being sought for to answer to the allegation made against him. “If both fails, the individual can enter appearance on his own. If charges that are served on the Principal of Kyari are not enforced, then Kyari becomes a fugitive of justice.

The US government can now on that basis of two things; one is legal international law do extra-ordinary rendition like what Nigeria did to Nnamdi Kanu in Kenya or bring a formal application for extradition of the citizen to come and answer charges in US.

“The approach Nigerian Police have taken is very worrying. You cannot order an internal review of an allegation that has become a criminal charge.

What Nigeria Police should do based on the document served before it, is to surrender its officer to the Interpol”, the lawyer said. A law lecturer, Dr. Taminu Zakka, noted that, “we are a sovereign nation and we can decide who stays and who leaves Nigeria, subject to peculiar circumstances.

In this instance, they wanted a Nigerian citizen to come to the United States. I think it is a moral obligation.

“America can’t compel Nigeria. Nigeria also doesn’t have to take him over there but it is in the interest of Nigeria to conduct a judicial process here and if a prima facie case is established against him, then, send him over there.

“Another thing is if we have an agreement to swap suspects. Maybe, if Nigeria also has a suspect in America, whom it wants back in Nigeria and this becomes a matter of foreign relations.

“Nigeria can also demand his file from America, get our security people to look into the allegations against him; though I won’t advise police probing police. We can get a high-powered tribunal of inquiry, consisting of judges, both serving and retired, as well as accountants, to look into the allegations.

“But none of them should be members of the police or military. We have competent justices, both serving and retired, to look into his matter. If there is a prima facie case, then Nigeria can release him to the United States. Nigeria must first demand evidence from America. Once, there is a prima facie case, Nigeria should respect herself and send the man to them.

“There was a case of the wife of a diplomat who while driving her car in Nigeria, hit someone who eventually died and she fled to America, refusing to return to Nigeria. The Trump administration refused to release her, saying if there was going to be any trial, it should be in America.

Though unlike the diplomat’s wife, who I guess America made a special arrangement for her, Kyari has no immunity. “I will like to believe that Nigeria cannot afford to offend America and it is not in our interest to offend them because of one man. Hard reality demands we cooperate with the US to fight crime in situations like this”.

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