“I believe the root of all evils is abuse of power.”
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By Omoniyi Salaudeen
It’s not a noble end, but a tragic and dismal fall of a Super Cop. His ordeal speaks to the timeless words of exhortation by the late Premier of Western Region, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, who rightly remarked in a preface to his autobiography that “those who desire to reach and keep their places at the top in any calling must be prepared to do so the hard way.”
In perking order of professional distinction, DCP Abba Kyari, the suspended head of Intelligence Response Team (IRT), towers above his peers in terms of bravery and commitment to the fight against crimes. His name resonates within and outside the police formations for being on top of his game. The celebrated Deputy Commissioner of Police hugged the limelight for his fight and win offensive against kidnapping and other forms of criminalities. In his 40s, he had a bright future ahead of him until he fell off the radar with a loud thud. To many of his fans, his grace to grass story came as a rude shock 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 the operatives. Some were even too quick to dismiss the saga as a set-up, making it look like a tale by the moonlight. No one believed that the illustrious Cop could condescend to the level of collaborating with drug cartels.
But the NDLEA, emboldened by the weight of overwhelming evidence at its disposal, promised to reveal both the audio and video clips of the alleged shoddy transaction that landed Kyari into trouble.
As a Yoruba wise saying goes: “The wind has blown open the romp of the hen.” There is no more hidden place for Kyari and his numerous trysts.
According to NDLEA’s Director of Media and Advocacy, Mr Femi Babafemi, Kayri was involved in 25 kilogrammes cocaine deal which necessitated his arrest on Monday by the operatives having failed to honour formal invitations for his interrogation, adding that with the intelligence at the agency’s disposal, he believes strongly that the embattled Super Cop is a member of a drug cartel that operates the Brazil-Ethiopia-Nigeria illicit drug route, and “he needs to answer questions that crop up in an ongoing drug case in which he is the principal actor.”
The most intriguing aspect of the account is the alleged attempt to compromise NDLEA officials after the operatives had intercepted and arrested some traffickers that came into the country from Ethiopia with 25kg of cocaine.
Babafemi in a press briefing in Abuja said: “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.”
It’s quite a while since the rain has been beating the embattled DCP. Now, it is not only raining, it is also threatening thunder and brim storm.
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Before his latest travails, Kyari had been on the radar of the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI), America’s federal police and counter-intelligence agency, for his alleged complicity in the activities of a suspected Nigerian Internet fraudster, Ramon Abass, popularly known as Hushpuppi.
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.
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 has cast himself above the rules of law and the principle of justice and he must be made to face the consequences of his action.
His recalcitrant attitude also speaks to the urgency of the need for the Police Service Commission to do a thorough self-cleansing exercise to end the growing culture of impunity among the ranks and files of the police.
Already, the impression out there is that the police are part and parcel of the menace of criminalities going around the country. And it has robbed off the confidence between the populace and the police as an institution.
Although the police authorities have acted swiftly by arresting Kyari and four other officers allegedly involved in the drug deal and handed them over to the NDLEA, they need to dig deeper by flushing out the bad eggs among them.
When a national institution like the police becomes enmeshed in corrupt and dirty deals, then the future of the country is imperiled.
For the benefit of doubt, the acting police spokesman, Muyiwa Adejobi, has confirmed the resentment of the IGP to the impunity and arrogance displayed by DCP Kyari against the invitation of the NDLEA. “On the strength of the findings of the in-house Police Investigation Panel, the Inspector-General of Police has ordered the immediate arrest and transfer of all the indicted police officers to the NDLEA authorities for conclusive investigation, while appropriate disciplinary actions are also being initiated against them by the Force leadership,” Muyiwa said.
While the action is necessary to save the image of the police, discipline within the force should not be a one-off thing.
With the case at hand, all men and women of the police force must be made to be aware that the uniform they wear is not a liberty for extortion or any other act of illegality. For so long, the police have been embroiled in varying forms of impunity, including abuse of power, harassment of innocent citizens, torture, extra-judicial killing, among others, which have dealt a big blow to the image of the force. Therefore, beyond DCP Kyari, now is the time to make a scapegoat of erring officers.
Until now, Abba Kyari was the head of the Inspector-General of Police’s Intelligence Response Team in the Nigerian Police Force Headquarters in Abuja.
He was admitted into the Police Academy Wudil, Kano State, in 2000 and graduated as Cadet Assistance Superintendent of Police (ASP). With a gallant display of bravery and successes recorded in the fight against criminals, he rose through the rank to the position of Deputy Commissioner of Police (DSP) within the space of time.
Unless otherwise proved innocent of all allegations leveled against him, he might well be on his downward journey in his long career.