Mike Ozekhome, senior advocate of Nigeria (SAN), says Abba Kyari, deputy commissioner of police, cannot be extradited from Nigeria to the US, even though there is an extradition treaty between both countries.
The “super cop”, who has been described as one of the most celebrated police officers in the country was suspended by the Police Service Commission (PSC) on the recommendation of the IGP over his alleged relationship with Ramon Abbas, self-confessed international fraudster better known as Hushpuppi.
Hushpuppi had alleged that he bribed Kyari to arrest and jail “one of his rivals in Nigeria after a dispute over a $1.1 million scam on Qatari business people”.
But Kyari denied any wrongdoing, saying he never collected money from Hushpuppi.
Speaking on the matter on Sunrise Daily, a Channels Television programme, on Tuesday, Ozekhome said under section 36 of the constitution, Kyari’s fundamental human rights are protected, and that the officer cannot be treated like a common criminal by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
“The FBI cannot come into Nigeria and pick Abba Kyari like a common criminal and take him away to America, it is not going to happen, it has never happened before. I do not believe it will ever happen. Nigeria is a sovereign state and that must be respected within the boundaries of Nigeria,” he said.
“So if for example America is not satisfied with the way Nigeria is handling the matter, they can protest or have call to call or diplomatic discussions.
“Abba Kyari is safe under Nigeria law, he is entitled to his protection under the constitution of Nigeria, particularly section 36 that presumes his innocence.”
The lawyer also said the attorney-general has a role to play in saving the image of the country by stepping into the case and considering the reasons Kyari is wanted.
“The attorney-general is to take over the entire matter; look at the reasons Abba Kyari is being wanted. Are you satisfied that he’s not wanted for a political offence, religious belief, gender? Are you satisfied that laws over there will grant him fair hearing? Are you satisfied that when he comes there, he will not be delayed and promptly tried; he’ll not be put through unnecessary prolonged detention?” he said.
“Are you satisfied that the laws under which we want to try him will not subject him to different genres of laws when you eventually get him there?
“When the attorney is satisfied with all these under section 6, then he approaches the magistrate court or under section 251 of the constitution, he approaches a federal high court to issue a bench warrant or warrant of arrest against Kyari. He will then now be detained. He has within 15 days to now extradite Abba Kyari.
“But if the magistrate or the judge discovers certain prerequisites that ought to be done have not been fulfilled, he can refuse to issue the warrant or Abba Kyari can go to the court and nullify the extradition process.”