Biden Urged to Act on Detention of US Citizens in Nigeria

Biden Urged to Act on Detention of US Citizens in Nigeria

Biden Urged to Act on Detention of US Citizens in Nigeria

The US Chamber of Digital Commerce is urging Biden’s administration to secure the release of American citizens detained in Nigeria.

Since February 26, 2024, the Nigerian government has detained Tigran Gambaryan, a Binance executive and a former federal agent of the United States, and Nadeem Anjarwalla, another Binance executive, without passports.

Biden’s Adminstration Under Pressure

President Joe Biden’s administration is facing mounting pressure to expedite their release due to their passport-less detention. The United States Chamber of Digital Commerce published a blog post on its website on March 15, making its appeal.

The Chamber of Digital Commerce is leading the call for immediate diplomatic action to rectify what it considers to be a serious injustice. The incarceration of Gambaryan under questionable circumstances has established a dangerous precedent.

Biden Urged to Act on Detention of US Citizens in Nigeria
Source: United States Chamber of Commerce on X

This precedent suggests that any American entrepreneur operating outside of the country, particularly those working in the cryptocurrency industry, could be subject to similar criminal measures by authorities in other countries.

The blog post made the following claims:

“The unwarranted detention of Tigran Gambaryan is more than a legal issue; it is a matter of national dignity and the protection of American citizens worldwide.”

Nigeria is a United States ally, receiving more than $1 Billion in humanitarian assistance every year. The initial reports of the arrests of Gambaryan and Anjarwalla surfaced towards the end of February. The Financial Times reported on the detentions, but the press coverage did not explicitly name the executives.

Gambaryan and Anjarwalla, who hold dual citizenship in the United Kingdom and Kenya, reportedly landed in Abuja on February 25. This information is provided by their respective families.

They traveled to Nigeria in response to an invitation from the government to discuss the ongoing disagreement with Binance regarding the latter’s allegedly illegal activities in Nigeria.

The following day, the executives allegedly met with Nigerian officials to discuss the government’s instruction to telecom providers in the nation to block access to cryptocurrency exchanges like Binance and others.

According to the authorities, cryptocurrency exchanges were responsible for the devaluation of the naira, which is Nigeria’s official currency, as well as the facilitation of “illicit flows” of funds.

However, instead of reaching a resolution, Nigerian officials immediately escorted Gambaryan and Anjarwalla to their respective hotels after their meeting.

Their families stated that the National Security Agency of Nigeria instructed them to gather their belongings before relocating them to a “guesthouse”.

A few days before Binance officially announced its departure from Nigeria on March 5, they took Gambaryan and Anjarwalla into custody.

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