Hushpuppi: See US/UK Colonial Treaty That May Be Used To Extradite Abba Kyari
Following the alleged indictment of Nigeria’s celebrated ‘Super cop’, Deputy Commissioner of Police, Abba Kyari, in a $1.1 million international fraud conspiracy along side Ramoni Abass, alias Hushpuppi; Abdulrahman Juma (Abdul); Vincent Kelly Chibuzo (Kelly); Rukayat Motunrayo Fashola (Morayo); and Bolatito Tawakalitu Agbabiaka (Bolamide), there has been arguments around the possibilities of the United States of America having the jurisdiction to extradite the citizen of another sovereign country for prosecution in the US.
What many do not know however, is that the criminal offence which Kyari is wanted for in the US is captured in an extradition treaty between Nigeria and the US.
No. It is not a treaty originally signed with Nigeria, the treaty was actually signed between the United Kingdom, Nigeria’s colonial masters, and the US on December 22, 1931 and has subsequently been ratified by the Nigeria’s National Assembly on different occasions with the latest being 2015.
Kyari, a Deputy Commissioner of Police, is wanted in the US for criminal prosecution after he was listed among six suspects indicted in a $1.1 million international fraud conspiracy. In a case marked 2:21-cr-00203, USA VS Abba Alhaji Kyari dated April 29, 2021, the FBI asked a US District Court in California to order the arrest of Kyari within 10 days.
What Does The Treaty Say?
The treaty came into force on June 24, 1935, and was applicable to all British colonies, including Nigeria.
The treaty provides for reciprocal repatriation of criminals among the countries involved in the agreement.
Obtaining money or any form of assets through fraudulent means and bribery, including receiving bribes, which are elements of the crime for which Kyari has been declared wanted in the US, are among offences for which an accused person can be extradited in line with the provisions of the treaty.
Article 1 of the treaty stated that the contracting parties had undertaken to deliver up to each other, persons in their territories who are accused or convicted for committing specific offences within the jurisdiction of a party to the agreement.
A number of offences over which accused persons or convicts can be extradited in accordance with the agreement were listed under Article 3.
The offences include murder, conspiracy or attempt to commit murder; manslaughter; administration of drugs or use of instruments with the intent to procure miscarriage on women; rape; unlawful carnal knowledge or attempt to have unlawful carnal knowledge of a girl under 16 years; indecent assault and kidnapping or false imprisonment.
Other offences mentioned under Article 3 of the extradition treaty are child stealing; abduction; trafficking of underage girls; bigamy; malicious injury or infliction of bodily harm; threat with intent to extort money; perjury or subornation of perjury; burglary or housebreaking; robbery with violence; larceny or embezzlement; fraud by a bailee, banker, agent, factor, trustee, director, member, or public officer of any company, or fraudulent conversation.
Offences for which an accused person or a convict can be extradited between the US and Nigeria, in line with the treaty, also include obtaining money, valuable security or goods by false pretences; receiving money, valuable security or other property knowing the same to have been stolen or unlawfully obtained; counterfeiting or altering money, or circulation of counterfeited or altered money; forgery or uttering what is forged; crimes or offences against bankruptcy law; and bribery, defined to be the offering, giving or receiving of bribes.
Piracy; dealing or trafficking in hard drugs; slave trading and malicious injury to property are some other offences for which accused persons or convicts can be extradited according to the provisions of the treaty.
The treaty stated that extradition shall be granted for any of the listed offences, provided that the criminal activity is punishable by the laws of both the country seeking the extradition and the country that is asked to extradite the accused person.
Article 4 of the treaty stated that extradition shall not take place if the subject has already been tried and discharged or punished for the offences over which he or she is wanted.
Also, extradition will not take place if the accused person is still undergoing trial for the concerned offence in the country that was asked to effect the extradition.
In the same vein, if the accused person has been imprisoned, or is under trial, for a different offence, the extradition would be deferred until the conclusion of the trial or completion of the prison term.
However, Article 5 stated that extradition shall not take place if, after the commission of the offence or filing of criminal charges or conviction, exemption from prosecution was acquired by lapse of time according to the laws of the two countries involved.
Article 6 stated that a fugitive criminal shall not be surrendered for extradition if the offence for which his extradition is sought is of a political nature, or if the subject could prove that the demand for the extradition was made in order to punish him for an offence of a political nature.
Article 9 of the treaty stated that extradition shall only take place if the evidence is found to be sufficient according to the laws of the contracting party applied to for the extradition.
According to Article 10, if an accused person or convict is wanted for extradition by several countries at the same time, his extradition will be granted to the first country to make the application.
A fugitive who is wanted for extradition would be set free if sufficient evidence for the extradition was not made available two months after his arrest, according to Article 11.
Article 13 stated that the country that is seeking the extradition of an accused person or convict would bear all the expenses of the extradition.
The United Kingdom entered into the treaty on behalf of herself and all her then colonies, including the Nigeria Protectorate, present-day Nigeria, as stated in Article 16.
Article 18 said the treaty may be terminated by any of the contracting parties by means of a notice not exceeding one year and not less than six months.
But Nigeria is still subject to the treaty, which had been ratified in subsequent legislation including the Extradition Act of 1966, (Extradition Modification) Order, 2014, Extradition Act (Proceedings) Rules, 2015 and other international protocols.