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Hushpuppi: Nigeria Collaborating With US, Extradition Of Abba Kyari Considered — AGF Malami

The Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN), says the United States Government and the Nigerian Government are discussing the possible extradition of the suspended Head of the Intelligence Response Team, DCP Abba Kyari, for his alleged role in a $1m scam allegedly perpetrated by alleged international Internet fraudster Ramon Abbas, aka, Hushpuppi and five others.

The AGF also said reasonable grounds for suspicion have been established against Kyari.

Malami spoke on Monday while featuring on Channels Television’s ‘Politics Today’ programme monitored.

The Nigeria Police Force had probed Kyari and transmitted its findings to Malami for “legal opinion”.

Commenting on the case on Monday, Malami said, “It is an issue that has international and national dimensions. Actions have been taken, it is a work-in-process locally and internationally and we are doing whatever it takes to ensure justice is done within the context of the law regardless of the personalities that are involved.

“When criminality is involved, Nigeria and US naturally work together when there are elements of the offences that have taken place in the diverse jurisdictions. So, Nigeria is doing the needful by way of supporting what America is doing for the purpose of ensuring that the cases are tried accordingly within the context of the American context of it. And then, eventually, if there is need for local prosecution, nothing stops it.”

Commenting on the probe of Kyari, the AGF said, “There are a lot of issues that are ongoing inclusive of the possibility of consideration for extradition. That is where the collaboration element of it comes into play.”

Asked if a request for Kyari’s extradition had been made by the US Federal Bureau of Investigation, he said, “There could be a need or perhaps the possibility of making such request.”

Malami added, “As far as I am concerned, the parties are discussing, the parties are collaborating, there are exchanges of correspondence from the perspective of investigation, from the perspective of extradition, and associated things.

“Reasonable grounds for suspicion have been established and that will eventually translate to the possibility of prosecution and conviction if indeed one is adjudged guilty by the law.”

Malami also said that the law will take its course in the cases involving separatist leaders Sunday Adeyemo popularly called Sunday Igboho and Nnamdi Kanu.

Speaking during an interview on Channels Television’s Politics Today, Malami said the Federal Government will not interfere in Igboho’s travails in the Benin Republic.

“It is a matter being prosecuted at a foreign country and within the context of that prosecution, one thing that is visible is that he has been taken into custody on account of breaching the laws applicable in a foreign nation. With that in mind, he is being prosecuted,” he said during the show.

“We will allow the law of the nation that was indeed breached to take its natural course and perhaps, maybe thereafter bringing him back home after the conclusion of the trial over there for the purpose of facing the Nigerian law that was accordingly breached.

“The position of things is that we are not interfering in aborting the existing prosecution in the foreign land, taking into consideration that the laws that were alleged to have been breached were indeed the laws of a foreign nation.”

When asked if the Muhammadu Buhari administration was considering a political solution to free both separatist leaders, the Minister neither confirmed nor denied it. Rather, he said the Federal Government may consider the possibility of a political solution for Igboho after the conclusion of his prosecution in the Benin Republic.

While explaining that there are a lot of possibilities in terms of prosecution, he, however, kept mute on Kanu’s travails.

“Maybe those considerations may be considered or brought to bear when he is eventually brought back after the conclusion of the trial at the foreign nation.

“In terms of prosecution, you cannot rule out any possibility. In terms of prosecution, the laws of the land naturally take their natural course. In our laws, there are a lot of possibilities. One thing I can tell you as it is now, the law is taking its natural course.”

The minister also spoke about efforts made by the current administration in fighting corruption in the country.

He faulted the report by Transparency International that scored Nigeria 24 out of 100 points in the 2021 index, placing the nation as the second most corrupt country in West Africa, after Guinea.

In the 2021 Corruption Perceptions Index released by Transparency International on January 25, Nigeria dropped five places, despite the Federal Government’s avowed fight against graft.

But Malami, who is the chief legal officer, described the rating as baseless, insisting that Buhari’s government has done well.

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