SUSPICIONS TRAIL NDLEA’S DRUG ALLEGATIONS AGAINST ABBA KYARI: ASSUMPTIONS OR FACT?

DCP Abba Kyari has a rich CV in crime bursting. This made many Nigerians consider him a “Supercop”.  Abba Kyari headed the Inspector General of Police’s Intelligence Response Team (IGP-IRT). Before this time, he had served as the Officer-in-Charge of the disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS). Kyari was a nightmare to die hard criminals—armed robbers, drug peddlers, kidnappers and others alike. The records are there.

Kyari has been accused of several extra-judicial killings and human rights abuses while in the line of duty. But most of these claims are yet to be substantiated and upheld by any credible panel or even the courts. His successes have been somewhat of a shield, neutralising whatever may be the merits of such allegations. To an average Nigerian, it may not be difficult to believe those allegations because of the level of brutality the Nigeria Police is generally known for. 

While the CV of the embattled DCP Abba Kyari in crime fighting was rapidly growing, strong allegations relating to internet fraud, drug dealing, bribery scandal and other unprofessional conducts are now equally taking a substantial part of the CV as if to complete a grass-to-grace and now a grace-to-grass story.

The ravens of bad omen have been hovering around Kyari’s head lately. In July 2021, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in the United States fingered Abba Kyari as a criminal conspirator, associating with internet fraudster, Ramon Abbas (Hushpuppi) and his gang. This was contained in an affidavit presented before the United States District Court by FBI Special Agent, Andrew John Innocenti. 

The Nigerian Government through its Police formation appeared to many to have treated the matter with kids gloves especially as it pertains to the request by the US for an immediate extradition of Abba Kyari to enable him answer to the criminal allegations leveled against him. Instead of obliging the request, the Nigerian Government suspended Abba Kyari in what seemed to many observers to be an attempt to open room for a seemingly unending investigation into the allegations. As far as many Nigerians were concerned, it is in such rooms you find carpets under which many things are swept.

While on suspension, Abba Kyari has made news headlines on Valentine’s Day, 14th of February 2022. No, the headlines had nothing to do with Abba Kyari’s love for ridding die-hard criminals off the street or love for being a “supercop” to  Hushpuppi on the Day of Love. Rather, the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) alleged that with the intelligence at their disposal, “the Agency believes strongly that DCP Kyari is a member of a drug cartel that operates the Brazil-Ethiopia-Nigeria illicit drug pipeline.” So on the day millions wanted love so badly, NDLEA declared Abba Kyari wanted.

Following a tip off by the NDLEA, the Nigeria Police has confirmed the arrest of Abba Kyari and four other police officers for the purpose of being handed over to the NDLEA. The Police acknowledged that the arrest of Kyari and his team/gang was as it relates to “their involvement in an alleged case of criminal conspiracy, discreditable, unethical, and unprofessional conduct, official corruption and tampering with exhibits in a case of illicit drug trafficking involving a perpetual transnational drug cartel.”

The Suspicion

Given that Nigerians nurse reasonable distrust for the system especially when it involves high-profile individuals, there is the common suspicion that the whole drug-related story involving Abba Kyari is a “script” being projected in order to distract the US and ultimately prevent Kyari’s extradition to the US. 

While the distrust isn’t totally unfounded, the “script” claim seems ridiculous. Possible conspirators within the Nigerian police formation can still hold Kyari down based on the Hushpuppi saga without needlessly faking this damning drug story. After all, he is still on suspension and the ultimate decision is still being awaited for eternity. 

More so, arguments bordering on national sovereignty can still be used to wade off or delay extradition without the need for the so-called script. 

Curiously, how do you possibly plan to shield Kyari from extradition by hanging on his neck a drug-related charge, one of the worst crimes on earth, which implicates a number of law enforcement agents, just like that! 

Again, there is no sense in passing on mere assumptions as fact, as it is being done by many since the NDLEA’s press release. 

At present, if you ask me, there is no compelling reason to inspire such comments that rather seek to discredit the commendable actions of the NDLEA. Rather, I believe that the NDLEA deserves to be praised for upholding its statutory mandate and for the role it played in rounding up Abba Kyari notwithstanding his alleged antics. 

Conclusion

Abba Kyari is now a personification of all the ills associated with the Nigeria Police Force, a thing that may have hurt badly the trust that Nigerians are expected to have for the police. As suspicions now trail his arrest based on drug-related allegations, it is left for the Nigerian Government to ensure his speedy trial for all the charges standing against him. 



Stephen Azubuike
Author: Stephen Azubuike
Stephen is a lawyer with expertise in Commercial Dispute Resolution and Technology Law practice. He is a Partner at Infusion Lawyers. He has successfully argued cases from the High Courts of various jurisdictions to the Appellate Courts on behalf of financial institutions, other corporate bodies and multinationals. He has worked with a number of startup tech companies. He tweets @siazubuike.
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