Imagine that life is a movie and your name is Abba Kyari, a deputy commissioner of police.
The day is June 11, 2020, and you are in the green chamber of the House of Representatives, the centre of all attention.
“I wonder if they know I have skeletons in my closet.”
Elected lawmakers are calling you the toast of the Police Force and the best thing since soft agege bread.
This scene would likely happen at the end of a celebrated career that has put many bad guys behind bars.
The credits would roll and our supercop would live happily ever after.
But things are falling apart for DCP Abba Kyari since he made that appearance at the National Assembly.
One year after his red carpet ceremony, he was exposed as a collaborator in an internet fraud case involving convicted international fraudster, Hushpuppi.
To clear his name, he first claimed he was a middleman tailor for Hushpuppi, and then claimed he was conned by him to make an illegal arrest.
Unfortunately for him, it was the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) from across seven seas that had all the dirt so the allegation was hard to shake.
Since this is Nigeria, it has been seven months and authorities have failed to make any meaningful progress in investigating and confirming the case against him.
“When you find yourself in a hole, stop digging” is usually a commonsense approach for most people, but Abba Kyari is not most people.
What is a suspension?
When you are on suspension from work, it would usually mean that you are, well, suspended, but we now know that Abba Kyari does not like to be idle.
Nigeria’s most infamous supercop turned a moment of forced rest into an opportunity to try his hand at other things. Who doesn’t like multiple streams of income?
The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) namedropped Kyari at a media briefing on Monday, February 14, 2022, as a principal suspect in a major drug trafficking case.
He was already replaced as the head of the elite Intelligence Response Unit (IRT) last year, but our supercop is not a man to be stopped by protocols.
From what we have now been told by the NDLEA and the Police, Kyari was instrumental in a drug bust in Enugu state.
While that would be commended under different circumstances, it is the point where Abba Kyari’s story takes another wild twist.
Coming soon to a Netflix near you.
This is the NDLEA’s retelling of what Kyari has been up to:
Allow us to break it down for you:
On January 21, 2022, Kyari called an NDLEA officer in Abuja to tell him his IRT team had arrested suspects who were smuggling 25 kg of cocaine into Enugu from Ethiopia.
Our anti-hero proposed that his team and his informants be allowed to take 15 kg to resell and replace with dummy powder.
To sweeten the deal, he offered to help his NDLEA contact sell 5 kg of the remaining 10 kg, leaving only 5 kg to be tested and used to prosecute the suspects.
At this point, we just have to assume this guy was out of fucks to give about getting caught, or it was just another regular deal to him.
Four days after initial contact, he was caught on camera passing $61,400 to the NDLEA officer for his cooperation.
Kyari had since then been airing the NDLEA’s messages after they told him to come and face the consequences of his bad decisions.
We have questions
The very obvious red flag in this whole story, of course, is how Kyari still held such a commanding position that he was able to call the shots on a drug bust.
He wasn’t only suspended from the Force, he had already been immediately replaced as the head of the IRT.
This incident speaks to the institutional rot that fueled 2020’s historic EndSARS protests against police brutality and impunity.
Even worse is that Kyari’s IRT had been accused of many extra-judicial actions before his internet fraud case finally drowned him last year.
The failure of authorities to reach any serious conclusions on his pending case reflects poorly on the government’s claims of reforming the Police.
Police vs NDLEA
Clearly unsettled about being exposed as having rogue agents, the Police Force has also released its own version of events.
The short version is this:
The long version is the two drug traffickers arrested in Enugu have apparently confessed they were being helped by NDLEA agents.
Their contacts had been helping them operate unhindered at the Akanu Ibiam International Airport since 2021.
This explains how they were able to successfully clear the drugs before Kyari’s team picked them up outside.
The one good thing that has come out of this whole episode is that Abba Kyari is now in custody, arrested by the police and handed over to the NDLEA alongside four other officers.
If this was a movie, we know for certain this is not the end.
We should be expecting a sequel of our supercop’s adventures in detention and maybe beyond.