He is perhaps the most popular police officer in Nigeria. He earned his popularity. He put many tough criminals behind bars. He is known as the super cop. Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines super cop as, “an extremely capable and successful police officer.”
His boss found him extremely capable, which is why he is the Head Intelligence Response Team (IRT). He is DCP Abba Kyari. He is in the news again, this time not for busting daredevil criminal syndicates, but over alleged complicity in wire fraud. He is now wanted in United States.
Just on Sunday, the Police Service Commission suspended him following his indictment by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). A California court in the United States of America had ordered his arrest following his alleged link with a notorious cyber criminal Abbas Ramon, popularly known as Hushpuppi.
Hushpuppi allegedly bribed Kyari to arrest one Vincent Chibuzo, a co-fraudster! But Kyari had since debunked the claim, assuring he would be vindicated at the end of his travail.
Announcing his suspension in a statement Sunday, PSC Head Press and Public Relations Ikechukwu, Ani said the action took effect from Saturday, July 31, 2021. This, Ani said, would subsist pending the outcome of the investigation in respect of his indictment by the FBI.
Abba Kyari’s indictment by the FBI is a perfect climate for ethnic and religious entrepreneurs to jump in and muddle the water through misinformation. These entrepreneurs never disappoint.
Apparently unhappy with Abba Kyari’s indictment the Arewa Youth Consultative Forum (AYCF) warned that nothing must happen to Kyari while his travails last. Leader of the group, Yerima Shettima, gave the warning in a statement in Kano on Sunday, and also dismissed what he described as “attempted intimidation of a police officer right inside his fatherland, knowing fully that Nigeria is an independent country.” He described the “move by FBI as totally unacceptable, a slap on the sensibility of our country as a sovereign nation and a slap on the person of one of our finest officers who prove over the years to be gallant, effective and ruthless as such Nigeria and Nigerians will not dance to American’s tune by handing over DCP Abba Kyari for prosecution.”
The Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) also jumped into the fray. It condemned the Northern Elders Forum (NEF) for failing to speak against allegations of corruption and the consequent arrest warrant on Kyari. MACBAN National President Dr Garus Gololo said it was a shame that the Northern Elders Forum and other groups in the region would fold their hands and watch while sons of the north who
have distinguished themselves in different fields are constantly being persecuted and maligned at the height of their careers. He said while the US and some elements in the southern part of Nigeria were allegedly conniving to persecute “shining stars from the region using the media,” stakeholders in the north remained silent.
The views expressed by the Arewa Youth Consultative Forum and Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria, made it imperative to educate my readers on the issues at stake. It is a fact that Nigeria is a sovereign nation. But what is sovereignty? The concept of sovereignty is a term that is used to refer to the independence and autonomy of modern nation states.
Sovereignty refers to the fact of independence and autonomy that nation states have with respect to the decisions taken by them in matters concerning their citizenry. Sovereignty means that nation states are free to decide for themselves about the kind of democracy that they want, the kind of rulers that they want, and the kind of policies to govern them internally and externally. Often, the concept of sovereignty is invoked to delineate the distinction between taking decisions on their own by nation states and resisting external pressures to sway the decision-making process.
However, because sovereigns do not operate in isolation, sovereignty is not absolute. In recent years, the concept of sovereignty has been debated because globalization means that nation states submit themselves to international treaties and international agreements that are not always in their best interests. This imposes some amount of coercion on the nation states especially in the developing world. It is important to note that global crises like wire fraud, drug trafficking, money laundering, terrorism and terrorism financing, and human trafficking among others, require global solutions.
As the world confronts economic crises that are systemic, climate change that cannot be solved by individual nations acting independently and security and other risks that need global responses, it is obvious that there is no absolute sovereign nation in the world today. Therefore Nigeria is not an absolute sovereign.
Extradition is the process in which one country can surrender a wanted person, who is accused of committing crimes in the requesting nation, to that state for prosecution or punishment. Normally it is enabled by an extradition treaty which has been agreed by the two nations, so they would both offer up a wanted person of interest when requested by the other.
Treaties generally classify crimes as ones that are punishable in both countries and normally only allow extradition for crimes that carry a punishment of more than one year. These treaties can also specify instances in which extradition may be denied. In all cases, the judge has to consider whether or not extradition would be compatible with the subject’s human rights, as well as the seriousness of the crime in question.
The extradition treaty signed between the United States and other countries allows the United States to request from countries that have signed the extradition treaty to extradite persons who are wanted by the United States security authorities for criminal offences. And this should worry those who are saying Kyari cannot be extradited to the United States, citing ‘Nigeria’s sovereignty’.
Nigeria signed extradition treaty with the United States on December 22, 1931 and the treaty entered into force on June 24, 1935. Since then Nigeria has extradited several persons to the United States for various reasons ranging from drug, advance fee fraud, and terrorism related offences.
On August 28, 2013 a court in Nigeria on the request of the U.S. Embassy ordered the extradition to the US one Lawal Olaniyi Babafemi on a federal indictment charging him for providing support to al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula by recruiting members to train in Yemen.
Remember late Senator Buruji Kashamu, who on Monday, 25, May 2015, refused to attend a court hearing on his extradition to the United States on 20-year-old drug charges related to the TV hit “Orange is the New Black.” After years of inaction, the United States had requested his extradition, according to Nigeria’s drug agency.
It is not uncommon for targets of extradition from Nigeria to United States to use the court in Nigeria to stop their extradition. Buruji Kashamu tried it successfully, at least till his death ended it permanently. Kyari and his supporters could explore the Kashamu option if they want, but they should not insult the sensibility of Nigerians by making Kyari’s indictment as a conspiracy between Southern leaders and United States to “persecute shining stars from the North using the media.”
After all, the United States State Department in a 2009 report described Nigeria’s extradition practices and procedures as an obstacle to anti-crime efforts. The report stated that the US has several extradition requests pending in Nigeria for years. Kyari can go and clear his name or join the long list of extradition requests from United States that are still pending. This case is made more sensitive by the fact that Kyari is a policeman, and refusal to extradite him may have unsavoury consequences for the nation’s reputation. It would seem as if the country abets fraud. Let it not be forgotten that indictment is not conviction. It is the opinion of this columnist that DCP Kyari should see this as an opportunity to clear his name. He should willingly head to America.