The dismissive and hasty tone, by the Nigerian Police Investigation Panel, that Nigeria’s so perceived super cop, Abba Kyari, committed no crime on US soil, is a national shame that will further dent the image of the Nigeria Police, indeed the entire nation before the international community.
It’s no surprise that the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Usman Baba constituted Special Investigation Panel, SIP, led by the Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG) Joseph Egbunike, couldn’t deny that Kyari has questions to answer.
Chairman of the SIP, DIG Joseph Egbunike, revealed, “The panel discovered that there was communication between Kyari and Hushpuppi, as well as infractions on the part of the cop, which is against the procedure of engagement of the police”, which is mere rationalisation of the US indictment of Kyari.
By establishing that an officer the Nigeria Police and indeed Nigerian government decorated as a symbol of excellence and credibility in a Police Force did have unhealthy communications and dealings with a notorious billionaire fraudster, the report did not shame only Kyari, but also indicted the entire Nigerian police and the Nigerian government, knowing how corrupt we’re as a nation.
It is therefore very disappointing that the panel and the police are deliberating trying to water down a clear indictment by flagging the indefensible excuse that Kyari committed no offense in the US and so should not be extradited to the US to face trial.
For me, this is a deliberate intent to cover up the sins of Kyari and insulate him from trial. This familiar signal is not at all about protecting the indicted cop or the integrity of Nigeria. It is equally about avoiding a situation where Kayri could indict his superiors in the police who may have been on the know and shared of Kyari’s spoils of his association with Hushpuppi.
This was the same script that made it impossible for the Nigerian government to try former Governor of Delta State, Chief James Onanefe Ibori. Even with over a hundred charges, because of compromise, Nigerian police, anti-graft agencies, and the judiciary could not bring Ibori to book, talk much of convicting him for stealing blind the state he ruled.
However, speedily without sentiments, a UK court, with a single charge of laundering money he stole from Delta state, convicted and jailed Ibori for years before releasing him.
It is not the responsibility of the Nigerian Police or government to absolve a police officer indicted for aiding and abetting an international fraud in return for a share of the loot.
If Abba kyari were indicted by the US authorities, he should be taken to the US to face charges against him. If the Nigerian government through the Inspector-General of Police panel report is owning up to Kyari’s misconduct, then the government should be ashamed that under her nose, a super cop was aiding and abetting a multimillion-dollar advanced fee fraud and they weren’t aware.
It has taken the US government to detect a crime being coordinated from Nigeria with the involvement of a hypocritical Nigerian super cop. The honourable thing to do is to release Kyari to face trial like Hushpuppi in the US. Let the suspect prove his defence himself.
All the cover-ups and grandstanding by the federal government through the Nigeria Police will not help Nigeria one bit. It will only aggravate our unenviable global reckoning as one of the most corrupt nations in the world.
Zik Gbemre Writes from Warri
September 22, 2021