The NDLEA urges Nigerians not to attach unnecessary importance to certain actions of the agency.
Contrary to speculations on social media, the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) says it has not filed charges against suspended Deputy Commissioner of Police, Abba Kyari, to prevent his extradition to the United States.
On Monday, February 14, 2022, Kyari was arrested, hours after he was put on the wanted list by the NDLEA for alleged drug trafficking.
Prior to his arrest, the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation had filed charges against Kyari in 2021 for a fraud scam involving an Instagram celebrity, Ramon Abbas aka Hushpuppi, and four others.
Following his arrest in February on drug trafficking charges, many Nigerians on social media suggested Kyari’s arrest was a ploy to prevent his extradition to the United States, where he faces charges of wire fraud, money laundering and identity theft.
Reacting to speculation about Kyari’s arrest, the agency’s spokesman, Femi Babafemi, said in a Twitter post that the NDLEA charges against the controversial police officer were not meant to prevent his extradition.
“I want to emphasize that the NDLEA did not file charges against these individuals yesterday. Charges have been filed against them since February 28, 2022. The matter has been assigned to a magistrate and the suspects are scheduled to be arraigned before Court 8 of the Federal High Court in Abuja on Monday, March 7.
“This is to correct the insinuation that the NDLEA presumably rushed to court to file charges after an extradition notice was filed against one of the main suspects,” he said.
“In our case, we charged seven people, not just one person alone. By doing this, we want to correct the impression that people are no longer unnecessarily reading a lot into certain actions of the agency,” he said.
Babafemi also explained the reason why Kyari was not brought forward: He said it is not NDLEA’s custom to parade suspects as other law enforcement agencies do.
He said, “We do not parade suspects. We have never paraded any suspect. That’s the truth. I’ve never brought a suspect before the press. Most of the time, when we make a statement about our activities, we choose some pictures of the exhibits, sometimes with the suspects, to show to the public, because we have a very cynical society, where even with pictures, many people would say that’s not possible.
“So you sometimes need pictures or videos to back up the statement you’re making so that people can see it and believe it. In addition, some of these things also serve as a deterrent to potential criminals or those who are already engaged in this type of crime, so they can see that one day they may also get caught.
In the meantime, the federal government of Nigeria has agreed to the request of U.S. authorities for Kyari’s extradition.
The Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, made the announcement in a recent television interview.
In the affidavit filed in support of the extradition request, Malami stated that he was convinced that the crime for which Kyari’s extradition was sought was neither political nor trivial.