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US did not give Nigeria 48 hours ultimatum to detain Abba Kyari

Image source: BBC 3 mins read

Claim: Several social media posts claim the United States of America (USA) gave Nigeria’s Federal Government 48 hours to detain suspended Deputy Police Commissioner, Abba Kyari, or face severe sanctions.

The claim is false and misleading. The US did not give Nigerian Federal Government 48 hours ultimatum to detain Abba Kyari.

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Tons of reactions have greeted the indictment of suspended Deputy Police Commissioner, Abba Kyari, by the United States District Court for the Central District of California.

The court indicted Kyari following his alleged involvement in the international scheme to defraud a Qatari school founder of over $1 million. The fraud scheme was masterminded by popular Instagram celebrity, Ramon Abbas, also known as Hushpuppi.

According to the US court documents, Huspuppi allegedly bribed Kyari to have Kelly Chibuzor Vincent, one of his allies, jailed in Nigeria after a dispute over how to share the $1.1 million loot received from the Qatari businessperson. 

Kyari arranged for Vincent to be arrested and jailed at Hushpuppi’s behest, and then sent Abbas photographs of Vincent after his arrest. Kyari also allegedly sent his bank account details to Hushpuppi. The said account was used to receive payment for Vincent’s arrest and imprisonment.

The US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) secured a court order to arrest Kyari on July 26 and  to hold him in U.S. custody for his role in the fraud perpetrated by Hushpuppi. Soon after his indictment, Nigeria’s Inspector-General of Police, Usman Baba, suspended Kyari and ordered a probe of the fraud allegations against him.

Pressure is presently being mounted on Nigerian authorities to extradite Kyari to the US in order to face trial.

Several social media accounts on Facebook and Twitter then started circulating a claim that the United States of America (USA) gave Aso Rock 48 hours to detain the suspended Kyari, or face severe sanctions.

A screenshot showing claim reposted by several Twitter users
A screenshot showing claim reposted by several Facebook users

A Facebook post by Biafra TV with over 14,000 followers alleged that the US threatened to sanction Aso Rock if Abba Kyari is not detained within 48 hours. The post has gathered over 400 likes, 60 comments and 47 shares.

The post reads: “BREAKING NEWS WE GIVE YOU 48HOURS TO DETAIN ABBA KYARI OR FACE SEVERE SANCTIONS – USA WARNS ASO ROCK.”

A screenshot of claim by Biafra TV

On Twitter, Xpsliver(@Xpsilver1) shared the same post which has generated over 500 likes, and over 500 retweets.

A screenshot of claim made by Xpsliver

Verification

Dubawa checks revealed that the claim was not attributed to any source or office, even though it was widely circulated.

A keyword search on the news showed that no credible media organisation has published reports on the purported US’ threats to the Nigerian authorities.

What did the US court say?

According to a detailed report by Premium Times, the court ordered that Kyari and others indicted in the case be arrested.

“The U.S. government’s ‘Notice for Request of Request For Detention’ signed by an Assistant Attorney of the U.S government, Anil Antony, highlighted the reasons for asking for Mr Kyari’s arrest and his subsequent detention.

“Plaintiff, United States of America, by and through its counsel of record, hereby requests detention of the defendant. The government is entitled to a detention hearing under § 3142(f)” because Mr Kyari as “serious risk defendant will flee,” the report read.

Conclusion

The claim that the United States of America gave 48 hours ultimatum to Aso Rock to detain Kyari or face severe sanctions is false and misleading.

The researcher produced this fact-check per the Dubawa 2021 Kwame KariKari Fellowship partnership with The Nigerian Tribune to facilitate the ethos of “truth” in journalism and enhance media literacy in the country.

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