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We’re still working on extraditing Binance fugitive, says Interpol VP

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We’re still working on extraditing Binance fugitive, says Interpol VP

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Vice-President of the International Criminal Police Organisation for Africa, Garba Umar, says following the escape of Nadeem Anjarwalla, known as the Binance fugitive, Interpol was promptly notified, resulting in a coordinated effort across 196 countries to track him down.

Umar disclosed this on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily programme on Tuesday.

He stressed the importance of international police cooperation in ensuring that fugitives face justice, outlining the processes involved in extradition.

Umar also reassured that all necessary paperwork had been completed, and law enforcement agencies were actively pursuing the case.

He said, “As soon as Nadeem Anjarwalla escaped, Interpol was officially informed. We went into action to gather all the data and information about him and share it among the 196 countries. We were able to track his movements, know where he was going, and eventually, he landed in a particular country. We are now doing everything possible to ensure that the country complies with Interpol’s rules of international police cooperation by initiating the extradition process to bring him back to face justice in Nigeria.

“Don’t forget, as soon as this individual escaped, there was a massive manhunt for him. We contacted many countries where we believed he might have boarded a plane or travelled by road to another location. We obtained certain information that I cannot share on this platform. Rest assured, we located his whereabouts, and how he travelled, and gathered all the necessary information to prevent his escape from justice.

“For every country, there is a law. If a fugitive escapes, there are processes which that country follows up on. Interpol will only provide information to assist that country, informing them about the bilateral agreements, the MOU, and the signed conventions for extraditing a fleeing fugitive. The process is ongoing.

“Nadeem is not an exception, and rest assured, we have all the cooperation, and we are working on it. And definitely, one day, he will be brought to justice. It is just a matter of time. We have completed all the paperwork. All the law enforcement agencies have completed the paperwork and handed it over to Interpol, which is working on it.”

Highlighting the broader context of transnational crime, particularly cybercrime, he underscored the need for technological advancements to combat such challenges.

The VP mentioned the deployment of AI and the introduction of Metaverse Retrovirus to enhance Interpol’s capabilities in fighting cybercrime.

Additionally, Umar stressed the establishment of sophisticated cybercrime centres in Nigeria and Rwanda to support law enforcement efforts.

“The technology is good, but at times, it comes with consequences. And these consequences can be mitigated by bringing morality into it. This is worrisome, honestly, but the Interpol, on its part, is bringing AI. But first, we are introducing the Metaverse Retrovirus to help in artificial intelligence.

“We are doing a lot to assist law enforcement agencies across the globe to make sure that fighting cybercrime is the number one priority and to give them all the modern tools and services. The government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria has established a state-of-the-art cybercrime centre run by the Nigerian Police Force. We have the best cybercrime centres, one in Rwanda and one in Nigeria, and they are all sophisticated,” he added.

Acknowledging the sophistication of criminal activities, Umar emphasised Interpol’s commitment to training officers equipped to handle AI-related challenges.

While eradicating cybercrime entirely may take time, Umar suggested that proactive measures and community involvement are essential steps towards achieving peace and security.

“You see the Yahoo yahoo guys on the other side, they are also advanced so is Interpol. We have experts all over our NCPs and regional headquarters who are being trained professionally, and Africa is no exception. You will see the kinds of officers that are trained to meet these challenges of AI. They are well-equipped, trained professionally, and internationally certified; we have them. When we train them, we make sure that they can do the work. So, of course, official intelligence has its consequences, but what we are doing is to make sure that we have the mitigation to fight those guys on the other side of the coin.

“If you look at the statistics of EFCC, what they have done this year to Yahoo Yahoo boys, almost daily, they are arrested and prosecuted. So we have to go back to the drawing board. You know, Interpol has the capabilities and solutions, but there must be laws and there must be certain procedures from the institution or a country to ensure that it is controlled at the grassroots at the primary level before it is transformed into a secondary level where we find it difficult to deal with. This has to be from the government institutions, communities, societies, religious leaders, and everyone. Everyone must be involved in this, and that is the only way we can have peace in this country,” Umar said.

In March, the Office of the National Security Adviser apprehended Anjarwalla on suspicion of engaging in activities detrimental to the stability of the naira and allegedly causing its depreciation against the US dollar.

Additionally, the government filed charges of tax evasion against the platform. However, the NSA office reported that Anjarwalla escaped custody during Friday prayers on March 22, 2024, in Abuja, using a smuggled passport to flee Nigeria.

Subsequently, the Nigerian Government initiated a search for him, reaching out to Interpol for assistance.