Hue and cry are shrill and earsplitting. Integrity is frozen and Nigerians are dumbfounded. Who could have thought in his lifetime that a highly decorated and exemplary police officer, an IGP Intelligence Response Monitoring Team, and a Deputy Commissioner of Police, Abba Kyari, would be bespattered with the evidential criminal allegations made by the Federal Bureau Investigation – a Federal Police in the USA charged with the responsibility to protect, prevent and investigate crime in America and American interest? Kyari, the 46-year-old super cop, gallantry serving the Nigeria police force is appallingly struggling to save himself from the FBI’s masterstroke and scornful embarrassment.
The news piercing the ears of Nigerians is that highly revered DCP Abba Kyari was accused of playing a role in a financial scheme and fraud in which Ramon Abbas (aka Hushpuppi), Bolatito Takakalitu Agbabiaka (aka Bolamide), Abdulrahman Juma (aka Abdul and Rahman), Yusuf Adeyinka Anifowoshe (aka AJ and Alvin Johnson), Kelly Chibuzo Vincent, and Rukayat Motunrayo Fashola (aka Morayo), between November 2019 and April 2020, defrauded a Qatari businessman about $1.1 million – a wire fraud “in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1343.” Although Kyari expressly denied involvement in the crime, Hushpuppi, a fraudulent online celebrity, pleaded guilty to the offence on 20th April 2021.
If the FBI allegations against Kyari had come from an unreliable federal police department, it would have been taken with a pinch of salt. But for the allegation to have emanated from the FBI, internationally revered as one of the finest crime investigators, it would be extremely difficult for DCP Abba Kyari to sail through the rough-sea if he should find himself in the dock of the California court. History has shown that the FBI has sterling records of winning court cases it investigated, because of the department’s meticulosity, painstakingness, and thoroughness. FBI is highly funded, scrupulous, and discipline. For example, before Hushpuppi and his accomplices were arrested in June 2020 in an operation codenamed Fox Hunt2, the FBI had forensically investigated them for some months. FBI recovered from them “21 computers, 47 mobile phones, 15 memory sticks and five hard disks containing 119, 580 in alleged fraud files.” It is highly likely that credible information sieved from the communication gadgets seized, and the confession of Hushpuppi, that after 13 months of investigation indicted DCP Abba Kyari. Therefore, it looks cloudy for Kyari.
In the meantime, Otis Wright, the judge of the U.S. Court for the Central District of California has ordered the FBI to arrest Kyari. In a 69-page court document, an FBI special agent, Andrew John Innocenti, detailed the alleged involvement of DCP Abba Kyari in the organized crime. Mr. Innocenti noted how poor sharing of the illicit fund created mistrust and bickering between Hushpuppi and one of his accomplices called Chibuzo Vincent. The document said that “CHIBUZO’s messages to ABBAS during that time show that he was unhappy with the amount that, and/or speed with which, ABBAS was paying him, so he contacted the Victim Businessperson directly,” informing him “that JUMA and ABBAS were ‘fake,’ in an attempt to convince the Victim Businessperson to stop making fraudulent payments to ABBAS and JUMA, and to make fraudulent payments to him instead. When JUMA and ABBAS learned of CHIBUZO’s interference, ABBAS arranged to have KYARI—a highly decorated Deputy Commissioner of the Nigeria Police Force—arrest CHIBUZO for interfering with the fraud scheme. ABBAS specifically told KYARI that CHIBUZO contacted ‘the job’ behind ABBAS’ back to ‘divert the job for himself.’ ABBAS asked KYARI to have the police administer the ‘serious beating of his life’ and arranged with KYARI to pay to keep CHIBUZO imprisoned for at least a month, so that the fraud scheme could be successfully executed, and the money could be obtained.” It was alleged that Kyari arrested and detained Chibuzo for one month as Hushpuppi directed. There was an allegation that Kyari “told ABBAS that he would not allow CHIBUZO’s girlfriend to pay money to get CHIBUZO out of custody as he would have done for a ‘normal arrest’.” It was purported that Kyari, a super cop, sent the picture of Chibuzo in detention to Hushpuppi as an evidence of an assignment well done and to “facilitated payments [to the account Kyari allegedly provided to Hushpuppi] from ABBAS to the Nigeria Police Force personnel who arrested CHIBUZO.” According to the document, the essence of the alleged detention was “to ensure CHIBUZO’s continued arrest, thereby preventing CHIBUZO from notifying the Victim Businessperson of ABBAS’ and JUMA’s fraudulent scheme and preventing CHIBUZO from hijacking the scheme for his own benefit.” By so doing, “JUMA and ABBAS convinced the Victim Businessperson to make the payments of $299,983.58 described above.” The document stated that “KYARI’s knowing involvement in the scheme allowed ABBAS and JUMA to continue defrauding the Victim Businessperson undetected and receive money obtained from the Victim Businessperson after it was laundered.”
As watertight as the FBI’s evidence may look, DCP Abba Kyari denied culpability and claimed innocent. Kyari claimed in his Facebook verified page that “Abbas who we later came to know as Hushpuppi called our office about two years ago that somebody in Nigeria Seriously threatened to kill his family here in Nigeria and he sent the person’s phone number and pleaded we take action before the person attacks his family. We traced and arrested the suspect and after investigations, we discovered there wasn’t an actual threat to anyone’s life and they are long-time friends who have money issues between them hence we released the suspect on bail to go and he was not taken to any jail. Nobody demanded a kobo from Abbas Hushpuppi. Our focus was to save people’s lives that were purported to have been threatened.” He said that Vincent Chibuzor is alive to verify his story. Kyari also claimed that Hushpuppi paid his tailor N300,000 for the cloth his tailor sold of him.
It is evident that Kyari and Hushpuppi had hobnobbed and socialized. It was alleged that when DCP Abba Kyari visited Dubai in United Arab Emirates (UAE) in September 2019, Hushpuppi provided a car and a driver that drove Kyari around the city. “Soon thereafter, KYARI sent ABBAS a video slideshow which showed some personal photographs of KYARI, some of which appeared to have been taken in the U.A.E.” Innocenti observed in the document that “after KYARI sent ABBAS an article that discussed him arresting alleged kidnappers, ABBAS wrote, in part, to KYARI, ‘Am really happy to be ur boy,’ and later, ‘I promise to be a good boy to u sir’.” It is the same Hushpuppi, who promised to “be a good boy” to Kyari that had turned into a “Scampuppi.” As could be seen, Kyari has entered into a thorny path and seriously gasping for survival – to save his hard-earned personality.
Who is Abba Kyari that is currently battling to save his head from disgrace and extradition? DCP Abba Kyari, a Kanuri and father of five children, was born on 17th March 1975. In 1997, he graduated as a Geographer from the University of Maiduguri. After his National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) in Akwa Ibom State in 1998, he enrolled in 2000 into the Nigeria Police Force as Cadet Assistant Superintendent of Police. He initially served different police divisions in Adamawa State before becoming a member of a Mobil Police force. In October 2010, he was posted to Lagos Police Command as the 2-in-command (2/IC) to Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) and afterward became the Officer-in-charge of SARS. In 2018, for his distinguished services as the commander of the IGP Intelligence Response Monitoring Team, he was promoted to Deputy Commissioner of Police.
In a book written by Edentu Oroso titled “A Biography Of The Super Cop ABBA KYARI: STRIDES OF DESTINY,” DCP Abba Kyari was described as an “exceptional super cop. An extraordinary character in the throes of an epoch to cleanse society of social miscreants. In one aspect Strides Of Destiny can read like the ultimate crime thriller. A single vigilante superhero manages to unmask the darkness. His eyes penetrating the recesses of evil and bringing even the strongest villains to their feet. Boko Haram, The Vampire, Godogodo, Evans. These are just some of the criminal organizations and criminals he has brought to the feet of the law. But it is more than that. Strides Of Destiny is the story of a man whose entire existence exudes with integrity and honour. With a strong sense of conviction, Abba Kyari’s life leaps off of the page and into your heart.”
For Abba Kyari’s enviable performance and distinguished services in the police force, during the plenary in the House of Representatives on 11th June 2020, he was honoured in grand style. In the historic words of the Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila, “this is also to show Nigerians that despite the not too good image of the Nigerian police, there are very good officers in the force.” He said that “this is the greatest honour, because this is the only institution where all Nigerians are represented. This is not an award from the house of reps [Representatives] alone but an award from the entire people of Nigeria.” It should be remembered that Abba Kyari had arrested a notorious armed robber in Adamawa called, ‘Ndagi’ (nicknamed Spirit), and nabbed notorious kidnap gang leaders, Chukwudi Onwuamadike (aka Evans) and Bala Hamisu (called Wadume). He also arrested the killers of Alex Badeh, who was former Chief of Staff in Nigeria. His achievements were too numerous to mention. That could be the reason Benjamin Kalu, a Federal House member from Abia State, appealed to Nigerian people “to have more Kyari in the fight against insecurity and to reduce the burden on Kyari’s shoulders.” This is one of the reasons it is sounding unbelievable that such a man who had worked selflessly for Nigerians would compromise and engage himself in pettiness and self-infliction.
Meanwhile, on 31st July 2021, the Inspector General of Police, Usman Alkali Baba, recommended to the Police Service Commission (PSC) for the suspension of DCP Abba Kyari for a proper investigation to be conducted. Following that, PSC has approved the suspension of Abba Kyari’s as contained in a letter with reference, PSC/POL/D/153/VOL/V/135. According to the Police Force Public Relations Officer, Frank Mba, “the suspension is without prejudice to the constitutional presumption of innocence in favour of the officer. The Special Investigation Panel (SIP), comprising four (4) Senior Police Officers, is headed by DIG Joseph Egbunike, the Deputy Inspector General of Police in-charge of the Force Criminal Investigations Department (FCID). The SIP, inter alia, is to undertake a detailed review of all the allegations against DCP Abba Kyari by the US Government as contained in relevant documents that have been availed the NPF by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). The SIP is also to obtain detailed representation of DCP Abba Kyari to all the allegations levelled against him, conduct further investigations as it deems fit, and submit recommendations to guide further actions by the Force Leadership on the matter.”
One should remember that on 29th July 2021, Frank Mba, in a statement titled: “Alleged indictment of DCP Abba Kyari: Inspector-General of Police orders a review of the information,” stated that “sequel to the receipt of allegation and indictment processes from the Federal Bureau of Investigation against one of the personnel of the Nigeria Police Force, DCP Abba Kyari, the Inspector- General of Police, Usman Baba, has ordered an internal review of the allegations.” He said that “the Nigeria Police Force reaffirms its commitment to the pursuit of justice and the strengthening of its professional relationship with the FBI and other international partners.”
As DCP Abba Kyari swims in the deep ocean of humiliation, Nigerians should remember he is presumed innocent until proven guilty. Not all the FBI allegations and charges have come out successfully. FBI, though a professional and reliable department, is not infallible. DCP Abba Kyari also is not infallible. The nature of his special assignments in Nigeria police could have exposed him to the good, the bad, and the ugly. Until he was arrested and convicted, many had admired Hushpuppi as a role model and hardworking celebrity living in Dubai. Very few could have thought otherwise. The Special Investigation Panel should be fair to DCP Abba Kyari and not be influenced by public opinion. Abba Kyari should not be cast away as a forbidden child but remember his phenomenal sacrifices and efforts in curbing insecurity and crime in Nigeria. The Nigerian government should dig deeper to ascertain the truth and find a better way to have a common ground with the American government. Time will tell if DCP Abba Kyari knowingly committed the crime alleged. Let the bell of justice ring.
Picture credited to Peoples Gazatte