Deputy Commissioner of Police, Abba Kyari and Hushpuppi

Abba the Hushcoppi had better invest in good lawyers. What we know is what has been unsealed. What was unsealed may yet be the tip of the iceberg. We have no idea what remains sealed by the Grand Jury. In the United States, District Attorneys (prosecutors) only give the grand jury key facts that are sufficient to show the probability that an accused committed a crime.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)’s indictment papers on Deputy Commissioner of Police Abba Kyari, is familiar. It reads like the biography of a crime kingpin. Even as a lay man, with rudimentary knowledge of law, it comes across as the story of fraud, money laundering, abuse of power, greed, police corruption and misconduct. Throughout the detailed, racy pages of the indictment paper, the apparent contravention of Nigerian laws, and the violation of the constitutional rights of individuals for personal gain is evident. It is shameful that DCP Abba Kyari, a seasoned law enforcement officer, broke his political contract with those he swore to protect and abused his power as a crime fighter for personal gain.

The indictment of Abba Kyari beams international searchlight on habitual abuse of power, unhindered corruption and misconduct in Nigeria’s law enforcement. In Nigeria, money rules, no matter the source! Nigerians have no faith in the criminal justice system because they know that might is right and that justice does not depend on playing by the rules. Justice is for those who can pay and the connected, while punishment is for the poor and besieged. That is why Ramon Abbas (alias Hushpuppi), a common criminal, for a fee, ordered a decorated cop of Abba Kyari’s standing, to arrest a rival criminal and he did his bidding. Without investigation, justification or a warrant, Abba Kyari arrested Vincent Chibuzor on Hushpuppi’s instruction. By way of the phone call, a criminal in Dubai reached out to a high ranking police officer to arrest a fellow criminal over a deal gone bad, and the arrest was effected, with the punishment executed as spelt out by the aggressor, without regard for legitimate enforcement of the law through appropriate means. How sad!

Looks like the Police hierarchy were well aware of Kyari’s excesses but rank impunity and institutional coverup, for which they are well known, sustained his myth as a sleuth-hound. Petitions had been written to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) accusing Kyari of procedural, criminal, and civil violations on the cases he handled.

The Nigerian Police and the Police Commission have done what is expected of them. Kyari has been suspended, with investigation ongoing on his conduct. His dalliance with Hushpuppi was not a one-off thing. Looks like the Police hierarchy were well aware of Kyari’s excesses but rank impunity and institutional coverup, for which they are well known, sustained his myth as a sleuth-hound. Petitions had been written to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) accusing Kyari of procedural, criminal, and civil violations on the cases he handled. There had been allegations of discriminatory arrests, physical harassment, selective enforcement of the law and even murder. None of these were taken seriously enough to merit an investigation. Various complaints and accusations described a pattern of misconduct and abuse by Kyari and his Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), that were repeated with the acquiescence of superiors without a care for correction. There were cases of extortion and asset conversion swept under the carpet. Seized items and money were alleged to have been diverted, without recourse to civil asset and funds forfeiture laws. What our system refused to do, America acted upon. Our recalcitrant son will now be taught from outside to our shame. That is if we have any.

Before his coup de grâce, DCP Kyari was a showboat. He was all over cavorting with shady characters. He loved being seen and regarded as a “super cop”. He reminded me of the 1983 film, Scarface. In the movie, Elvira Hancock’s advice to Tony Montana on selling drugs, turned out to be a memorable quote often cited ever since: “Don’t get high on your own supply”. An advice Tony Montana famously ignored to his peril, and paid the price for. Like Tony Montana, Kyari got high on public adulation, showboating and rank impunity. Like a moth, he got attracted to the lantern in a macabre dance of death. He became addicted and forgot what was expected of him. To maintain the acceptance he sought, he got sucked into shady deals and transactions. He started rolling with the big boys and he needed to measure up. Could his poor salary afford him that? No! He knew that no one asks questions about unexplained wealth in Nigeria. He became the toast of parties.

The indictment of Kyari is a direct warning to the criminal elements behind kidnapping, herdsmen, terror sponsors and all those working to destabilise Nigeria overtly and covertly that they better beware. When your cup is full and you are linked to the fleecing or killing of an American, you will be picked like snail.

Abba the Hushcoppi had better invest in good lawyers. What we know is what has been unsealed. What was unsealed may yet be the tip of the iceberg. We have no idea what remains sealed by the Grand Jury. In the United States, District Attorneys (prosecutors) only give the grand jury key facts that are sufficient to show the probability that an accused committed a crime. When it is all done, the crime and conflict entrepreneurs must know that the net can ensnare them. Abba Kyari knows the crime scene that Nigeria is. He knows the major league fraudsters, money launderers, terror sponsors, kidnappers and racketeers. Kyari knows where the skeletons are.

Let those who think they are smarter by half know that the FBI has the technology to access location-tracking data, monitor information flow through Intercepts and the manpower to analyse data and metadata. Sometime ago, the director of the FBI, Christopher Wray, said; “terrorism today moves at the speed of social media.” He knew what he was saying. The indictment of Kyari is a direct warning to the criminal elements behind kidnapping, herdsmen, terror sponsors and all those working to destabilise Nigeria overtly and covertly that they better beware. When your cup is full and you are linked to the fleecing or killing of an American, you will be picked like snail.

Bámidélé Adémólá-Olátéjú a farmer, youth advocate and political analyst writes this weekly column, “Bamidele Upfront” for PREMIUM TIMES. Follow me on Twitter @olufunmilayo

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