Over the years, Abba Kyari has risen to become Nigeria’s ‘Super Cop’, but his latest predicament has made it almost impossible to find one senior civil servant in Nigeria who is not corrupt.
Unfortunately, a man who was the one hunting down kidnappers, internet fraudsters, and other crime perpetrators, is now the one being hunted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). What an irony.
As a Nigerian, I was already concerned about the negative image the trial of Ramon Abbas, popularly known as Hushpuppi in the United States, has brought on the country, but I feel much more abashed by the indictment of our own Super Cop in such a messy case of internet fraud.
When Abba Kyari attended the flamboyant burial ceremony of Obi Cubana’s late mother, I knew there could be more about the Deputy Commissioner of Police who joined other celebrities to eat and drink in Oba, Anambra State. While he has a right to his social life, he should not be seen in some public shows where ethics is thrown in the wind. Policing is a no-show business, governance isn’t, nor is morality.
Most people, especially someone as busy as Kyari, do not attend party functions out of their state of residence except the celebrant is a business associate, close family member, or something very deep.
Kyari is the Nigerian Inspector General of Police’s Intelligence Response Team (IGP-IRT). Before his present appointment, he served at Lagos State Police Command as the Officer-In-Charge of the now-disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), a police unit notorious for harassing and even shooting young Nigerians indiscriminately.
He was very instrumental in the arrest of notorious kidnapper Chukwudi Dumee Onuamadike, popularly known as Evans in 2017. Kyari’s achievement is unquestionable.
Being a no-nonsense officer as we were made to believe, Kyari is the least person any Nigerian would possibly think has a link with Hushpuppi, if there is any at all, then it should be to track down the robust network of the suspected fraudster.
But the FBI, in their investigation, alleged that Hushpuppi paid Kyari to arrest and jail an estranged ‘co-conspirator,’ Chibuzo Vincent after a dispute over a $1.1 million scam on Qatari businesspeople.
My mind quickly flashed back to Oba, and I thought that if for instance, anyone offends Obi Cubana today, or if the billionaire businessman feels uneasy about anyone, all he has to do is pick up his phone and give a call to Kyari and the rest is sorted. What oppression.
But Kyari has hurriedly denied receiving bribes from Hushpuppi or having any involvement in his fraudulent dealings, saying Abbas only called to complain about a threat to the lives of his family in Nigeria, and Vincent was arrested and released. Kyari further said Hushpuppi sent N300,000 for native clothes and caps after the arrest of Vincent. Laughable.
The Inspector-General of Police. who has ordered an internal review into the allegation, has also recommended the suspension of the super cop. Kyari should be allowed to go and clear his name in the United States and if he is clean, he will return safely a hero.
But that may be a tall dream. This is not the first time the 46-year-old will be accused of financial-related offenses. However, this is the first time he would be publicly hunted by his alleged involvement in fraudulent deeds. In October 2020, TheCable reported that Afeez Mojeed, a Lagos businessman, accused Kyari of defrauding him of up to N41 million.
In a petition to the judicial panel set up by the Lagos State government to address abuses by SARS, Mojeed alleged that Kyari and his SARS team forcefully broke into his apartment in 2014, accused him of being an internet fraudster, seized N280,000 from his wardrobe, another N50,000 from his car, which they never returned, detained him for 14 days, forced him to sign checks under duress and later charged him to court but never showed up or brought any witness against him, forcing the court to strike out the internet fraud charge against him.
The report said Mojeed was taken by “one Inspector Fola, Corporal Bolu, and Corporal Akeem to Diamond Bank Ajah branch on October 23 and 24, 2014 to forcefully transfer the sum of 41 Million and N800,000 respectively from his corporate account M. Mateen Concepts into the account of one Obinna Edward, who was never seen or heard of before, after which they shared the money”.
Justice was never served in that case, or maybe not yet because of apparent corruption in the judicial system and police force. And perhaps because Kyari is a high-ranking officer that cannot be touched by the shorthand of the law.
Now that the hunter has become the hunted, Kyari should not be afraid, he is a trained police officer who has faced many difficult situations in his career, this is just one of those. It is time for the Nigerian Police and its super cop to show the world that Nigeria’s security forces work professionally and do not tolerate corrupt officers.
This is not the time for the federal government, which claims to be fighting corruption, to defend disloyal individuals. Kyari should be handed over to the FBI while the Nigerian authorities must keep close monitoring of the case in the USA.
Israel is a Nigerian journalist and can be reached via email@example.com
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