• News - North Central - FCT
  • Updated: March 25, 2024

Binance: HURIWA calls for sack of NSA, Immigration's Comptroller General following recent escape

 Binance: HURIWA calls for sack of NSA, Immigration's Comptr

The Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has urged President Bola Tinubu to sack the National Security Adviser (NSA) and the Comptroller General of the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) over the escape from custody of one of the Binance executives, Nadeem Anjarwalla.

A statement by the National Coordinator Emmanuel Onwubiko on Monday noted that Anjarwalla, one of the two Binance executives detained in Nigeria for alleged tax evasion and other offences, escaped from lawful custody.

According to Onwubiko, this is evidence that the country has become compromised by corruption, stressing the need for severe and immediate consequences for breach of national security which the spectacular but altogether staged escape of this fugitive from lawful custody demonstrates.

HURIWA is of the perception that failing to provide adequate security and surveillance around the escaped fugitive which may have made him escape is a matter of urgent national security importance.

The body advised that the Nigerian state should look at the lapses from the point of view of possible compromise with corruption which has tarnished the image of the nation and painted a graphic picture whereby national security can very seamlessly be compromised even by foreigners who allegedly are in deep-seated conflict with the law. 

The National Coordinator stated that this is one of the clearest signs that there are persons in positions of authority in the security architecture of Nigeria who are ready to compromise the national security at the altar of pecuniary benefits. 

"We call on the President to fire the National Security Adviser and the Comptroller General of Nigerian Immigration for allowing either willfully or by dereliction, this high profile breach of Nigeria's national security because what has happened can be equated with actively aiding and abetting sabotage of Nigeria's economy and for the Nigerian Immigration Service and the office of the National Security Adviser not to be able to provide concrete evidence that there was no compromise that allowed this fugitive to escape from lawful custody, then there must be very serious consequences."

HURIWA quoting news reports said that Anjarwalla, 38, allegedly escaped on Friday, 22 March, from the Abuja guest house where he and his colleague were detained after guards on duty led him to a nearby mosque for prayers in the spirit of the ongoing Ramadan fast.

"The Briton, who also has Kenyan citizenship, is believed to have flown out of Abuja using a Middle East airliner.

"It remains unclear how Mr Anjarwalla got on an international flight despite his British passport, with which he entered Nigeria, remaining in the custody of the Nigerian authorities."

Onwubiko further disclosed that an Immigration official said the Binance executive fled Nigeria on a Kenyan passport. He, however, said authorities were trying to determine how he obtained the passport, given that he had no other travel document (apart from the British passport) on him when he was taken into custody.

When contacted Sunday night on the escape of the Binance executive from detention, the Head of Strategic Communication at the Office of the National Security Adviser, Zakari Mijinyawa, said he would enquire and revert. He has yet to do so as of the time of filing this report.

Anjarwalla, Binance’s Africa regional manager, and Tigran Gambaryan, a US citizen overseeing financial crime compliance at the crypto exchange platform, were detained upon their arrival in Nigeria on February 26, 2024.

A criminal charge was filed against the two executives before a Magistrate Court in Abuja. On 28 February 2024, the court granted the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) an order to remand the duo for 14 days.

The court also ordered Binance to provide the Nigerian government with the data/information of Nigerians trading on its platform.

Following Binance’s refusal to comply with the order, the court extended the remand of the officials for an additional 14 days to prevent them from tampering with evidence. The court then adjourned the case till 4 April 2024.

HURIWA has therefore called on the government to make sure that this serious breach of national security is not allowed to slide or be consigned to the dustbin of impunity.

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