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Binance Executive Sues Nigerian Authorities Over Alleged Human Rights Violations

Binance executive Tigran Gmbaryan is seeking an order restraining the NSA and EFCC from further detaining him for investigations.

The detained executive of Binance, Mr Tigran Gambaryan, has filed a fundamental human rights violation suit against the National Security Adviser (NSA) Nuhu Ribadu, and the Economic Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

The fundamental rights suit was filed alongside the firm’s Africa Regional Manager, Mr Nadeem Anjarwalla, who was now at large.

While the two executives were arrested and detained by the federal government on February 26, Anjarwalla was said to have escaped from custody on March 22, few days after they filed the fundamental rights enforcement suit.

Gambaryan, in the originating motion dated and filed March 18, is challenging his continued detention by the federal government.

The suit before Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Federal High Court, Abuja, was filed by his lawyer, Mr Olujoke Aliyu.

Gambaryan and Anjarwalla, in the suits marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/356/24 and FHC/ABJ/CS/355/24, sued the Office of NSA (ONSA) and EFCC as first and second respondents.
They sought same reliefs.

Gambaryan, a US citizen overseeing financial crime compliance at the crypto exchange platform, in his application, sought a declaration that his detention and seizure of his international travel passport, contravened Section 35 (1) and (4) of 1999 Constitution (As Amended).

He said the act amounted to a violation of his fundamental right to personal liberty as guaranteed by the constitution. He also sought an order directing the respondents to release him from their custody and return his international travel passport with immediate effect.

Gambaryan equally sought an order of perpetual injunction restraining the respondents and agents from further detaining him in relation to any investigation into or demands from Binance.

The official, who sought an order for the respondents to issue a public apology to him, also prayed for the cost of the action on a full indemnity basis.

In a statement in support of the suit, Gambaryan said he was an American citizen who visited Nigeria on February 26, along with fleeing Nadeem Anjarwalla, as a representative of Binance, to honour the invitation of the ONSA and EFCC to discuss issues relating to Binance in Nigeria.

Giving an 11-ground argument as to why his application should be granted, he said he and his colleague, Anjarwalla, dutifully attended the meeting.

He said after the meeting the two of them were detained by the respondents and had remained in detention since then.

He said he did not commit any offence during the meeting, and neither was he informed in writing of any offence he personally committed in Nigeria at any other time.

“The only reason for his detention is because the government is requesting information from Binance and making demands on the company,” Gambaryan said. He added that he was not a member of the Board of Directors of Binance.

When the two suits were called on Thursday, T.J. Krukrubo, SAN, appeared for Anjarwalla and Gambaryan.
Krukrubo told the court that though the respondents were served two days ago, they were not represented in court.

The senior lawyer, however, drew the attention of the court to their notice of withdrawal of legal representation for Anjarwalla filed on March 26.

Although Krukrubo did not give details on why they were withdrawing their legal representation, this might not be unconnected with the disappearance of the applicant in custody.

Ekwo said having withdrawn their legal representation, “it means that the applicant has no legal representation and requires that the matter be adjourned for the applicant to seek legal representation and for the respondents to be given an opportunity to come to court.”
Ekwo adjourned till April 8 for further mention.

Alex Enumah

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