The noise around perceived super cop, DCP Abba Kyari, peaked again last week as he sought to disentangle himself from the law after being detained by police authorities for alleged criminal acts.
As had become the trend with Nigeria’s ‘big men’ seeking freedom from prosecution, Kyari had, through his lawyers, claimed ill-health but his lordships were not sufficiently convinced to grant him bail.
Before his sensational and extraordinary fall from grace to disgrace, Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP), Abba Kyari, was the most celebrated, and probably, the most decorated police officer in Nigeria.
He was the poster boy of the Nigeria Police Force, and the face of crime-fighting in the country. He was the role-model of a battered police force and a reference point for the rank and file of the force.
He bestrode the crime scene like a colossus, taking out criminals like sitting ducks, and bringing their reigns of terror to an end. He was branded courageous for taking the fight to the criminal gangs and coming out victorious.
Media organizations, corporate bodies, government parastatals, State Houses of Assemblies, the National Assembly and even the Federal Government, all jostled to outdo one another by showering awards and honours on Kyari.
He was seen as the Jack Bauer of the Nigeria Police Force, the James Bond of crime fighting in the country, and the many police officers aspired to be like him. He was the people’s superhero, and the media quickly came up with the moniker ‘Super Cop,’ and before long, the name stuck to him like a second skin and many actually forgot his real names.
States, and even the Federal Government were not left out in the rush to bestow awards and encomiums on Abba Kyari.
Litany of awards
In 2016, President Muhammadu Buhari honoured him with the ‘Presidential Medal for Courage,’ while the Lagos State government conferred on him the ‘Governor’s Award for Gallantry Leadership and Service Excellence’ in 2011, 2012 and 2013.
He was a recipient of the Lagos State Commissioner of Police ‘Commendation Award for Courage’ in 2011 and in 2018, and was given the award of ‘Africa’s Best Detective’ in the same year, as well as bagging the ‘Best Police Officer of the Decade Award 2019’ and the 2018 ‘Hero of the Year Award’ by the Silverbird Group.
From 2016 to 2018, Kyari was awarded the ‘Best Anti-Crime Police Officer in West Africa’ from Security Watch Africa, and also got the ‘Star Award’ from CRAN from 2011 to 2019.
In 2018, the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) gave Abba Kyari a ‘Certificate of Appreciation’ in 2018 ‘in recognition of his assistance and continued support of kidnapping investigations.’
Kyari practically became the face of the Nigerian Police, doing everything to launder the image of the force. As the ‘Super Cop,’ he became a social media celebrity who could not keep his achievements from the eyes of the public.
Nemesis of criminals
The likes of the billionaire kidnap kingpin, Chukwudi Onuamadike, alias Evans, the Taraba kidnap hencho, Hamisu Wadume, and the one-eyed armed robbery kingpin, Sunday Godogodo, will not forget Abba Kyari in a hurry as he was instrumental to bringing their criminal empires to ruin.
He traversed every part of the country to combat the most daring of criminals and always came out tops and was always in the limelight with his numerous heroic acts.
Going rogue with Hushpuppi
Just as his star was heading for the skies and he seemed to be on his way to the very top, with many predicting that he would ultimately end up as an Inspector General of Police, Abba Kyari’s nemesis came in the person of a high profile international fraudster, a certain Ramon Olorunwa Abbas, popularly known as Ray Hushpuppi.
The Internet fraudster, who was arrested in June 2020 by the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) over a variety of high tech organised crime, decided to sing like a canary and identified Kyari as one of his allies whom he used to launder the funds he picked off his victims.
Facing a likely 20 years in prison for his crimes, Hushpuppi decided to yelp like a ‘puppy’ and told the FBI how he had used Kyari to arrest one of his gang members over a deal gone sour and how money exchanged hands between the two.
In a deposition that was unsealed in an American court on July 26, the FBI provided details of conversations between Hushpuppi and Kyari which implicated the celebrated senior police officer.
The deposition alleged that Kyari had sent a special bank account number into which money was transferred into by Hushpuppi for “services rendered.”
In his defence, Kyari came up with a watery line of defence that he was only a fashion consultant to Hushpuppi, after initially denying any dealings with the arrested felon.
Then came the clamour for his extradition to the United States which became a real sore point for the Nigerian government and the police authorities, with the government foot dragging on the extradition request of the FBI.
But whether Kyari is eventually extradited to face trial in a U.S. District Court or not, the garment of morality he once wore has been soiled and tainted with odious and abhorrent spray of dirt.
Consequent to the report of the panel of inquiry set up by the Federal Government to carry out an investigation into the matter, he was slammed with a suspension order. And while the intrigues against the extradition request by the US lasted, Kyari got himself entangled in a narcotic deal.
Wolf in the house
As if the Hushpuppi saga was not enough, the beginning of the year 2022 once again proved to be a bad year for Abba Kyari as his free fall from grace to grass, gained momentum when the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) made a startling revelation of his alleged involvement in a drug-related deal following his arrest by operatives of the drug busting agency.
When the NDLEA story broke, first with the agency declaring him wanted, many Nigerians believed Kyari could not descend so low to connive with drug dealers, more so when he was on suspension at the time the crime was committed.
But the NDLEA played a trump card by releasing video and audio clips of the alleged transaction that landed Kyari in big trouble.
While briefing the press in Abuja on Monday, February 14, NDLEA’s Director of Media and Advocacy, Femi Babafemi, said Kayri was involved in 25 kilogrammes cocaine deal which necessitated his arrest by the operatives having failed to honour formal invitations for his interrogation.
Babafemi added that intensive investigation by the agency revealed that the embattled Super Cop allegedly belonged to an international drug cartel that operates the Brazil-Ethiopia-Nigeria drug route, and that he needed to answer questions that cropped up in an ongoing drug case in which he is the principal actor.
The most intriguing aspect of the NDLEA account was the alleged attempt by Kyari to compromise its officials after the operatives had intercepted and arrested some traffickers that came into the country from Ethiopia with 25kg of cocaine.
“Kyari proposed a drug deal whereby he and his team were to take 15kg of the cocaine and leave 10kg for the prosecution of the suspects arrested with the illicit drug in Enugu.
“In the meantime, the purloined cocaine will be replaced with a dummy worth 15kg. He asked the NDLEA officer to persuade men of the FCT Command to play along as well.
“In a sting operation, the NDLEA operatives cooperated with him, which led to his indictment in the whole saga. He also brought with him the money from the sale of the 5kg share of the NDLEA team, a total of $61, 400.
“Our officer, however, preferred to take the money inside his car. Well, the car was wired with sound and video recorders,” Babafemi said at the press briefing.
With the latest development, it is now obvious that the whole scenario has run a full circle. By pre-emptying the invitation of the NDLEA, Kyari cast himself above the rule of law and the principle of justice and he must be made to face the consequences of his action.
Cleaning up the dirts
Whether Abba Kyari will survive the several inquests against him remains a matter of conjecture. What is certain though is that the allegation that he was fingered by the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation in a matter of conspiracy to commit electronic fraud and abet criminal behaviour is bad enough.
But getting himself entangled in a web of drug trafficking is something that will take much more to deal with.
Presently, he is pulling at straws, one of which is the very weak excuse that members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), are behind his travails because of his war against them in the South East.
With the plethora of accusations hanging on his neck, the investigation and possible extradition of Abba Kyari to the United States will be a test the Nigerian police authorities and Nigerians are waiting with bated breath to see how the Federal Government will play this one out.
Anyhow the pendulum swings, Nigerians and, indeed, the whole world, are waiting anxiously to see if the famed war against corruption being waged by the President Muhammadu Buhari regime will be transparently played out in the case of Abba Kyari.
The waiting game is not helped by conspiracy theories which argue that the NDLEA saga may be a ploy by the Nigerian government to stall the extradition of Kyari to the United States.
Head or tail, the biggest loser in the whole saga is disgraced DCP Abba Kyari whose colossal fall from being a super cop to a rogue cop should be a lesson to the police force in Nigeria.
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