The National Drugs Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) was forced to declare suspended Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) Abba Kyari wanted on Monday, following failed attempts by the police top brass to shield him from the latest and previous probes.
According to Daily Trust investigation, insiders said there were spirited efforts by top police officers, including retired senior officers close to the embattled intelligence officer, to give him soft-landing in the aftermath of his indictment by the United States’ Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) as part of the investigation into the $1.1million advanced fee fraud involving Abbas Ramon, aka Hushpuppi.
Kyari, who is the Commander of Intelligence Response Team (IRT) at the Force Intelligence Bureau of the Nigeria Police Force and others are now in the custody of the NDLEA over allegations of involvement in drug dealings.
It was gathered that the attempts to shield Kyari from facing the full wrath of the law set a section of the management of the Police Service Commission (PSC) against the police top echelon.
The commission had expressed dissatisfaction with the pace of the probe and the initial report produced by a police investigative panel on the matter which recommended that the embattled super cop should be demoted and reprimanded in the wake of serious infractions. One of our sources said President Muhammadu Buhari had expressed disgust over the development.
“Beyond the president, the diplomatic community is also dismayed,” another source said, adding that “There is serious pressure all over to bring all those that have hand in the drug deal and other infractions to book.”
The source said “some powerful forces” within the police were making moves to justify the apparent delay in telling the world more facts.
“Initially, they were saying Kyari knows a lot about Nigeria’s inner security architecture and therefore they should be allowed to deal with whatever allegations were levelled against him.
“However, when the NDLEA went public with what they have, the police handed him over…The apparent delay did not cast the police establishment in good light,” he said.
It was also gathered that members of the PSC were not on the same page on the Kyari matter and many other issues. An insider said some members of the commission were favourably disposed with the posture at the Force Headquarters while others wanted to ensure that the mystery behind the latest cocaine deal involving Kyari and others was unravelled.
The four other operatives are ACP Sunday J. Ubua, ASP Bawa James, Inspector Simon Agirgba and Inspector John Nuhu.
Also, the NDLEA on Wednesday emphasised that it would not back out from its ongoing investigation despite subtle distraction from some high places even as findings at the Force Headquarters revealed that there was serious disquiet.
Observers and security sources believed that the statement by the anti-drug agency, signed by its director of media and advocacy, Femi Babafemi, was a tacit response to Monday’s statement by the police asking the NDLEA to also name its officers in the drug cartel.
Recall that a few hours after the NDLEA declared DCP Kyari and four others wanted, the police said it had arrested the suspects and handed them to the anti-drug agency but with a caveat.
The police, in a statement signed by its acting spokesman, CPS Olumuyiwa Adejobi, said: “Beyond this, the police investigation also established that the international narcotics cartel involved in this case has strong ties with some officers of the NDLEA at the Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu who are on their payroll…
“The Inspector General of Police has also formally requested that the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the NDLEA should ensure the identification, arrest and investigation of the agency’s officers who have also been found to be colluding with the international drug cartel involved in this case towards advancing the anti-narcotics agenda of the federal government.”
NDLEA’s spokesman Babafemi countered in a statement yesterday saying “the agency remained committed to evidence-based investigation and its resolve cannot be weakened by misrepresentation of facts.”
According to him, it was untrue that “NDLEA officers at the Enugu airport were the ones who received the details about the mule (drug carriers) coming from Addis Ababa from the cartel.”
Also, the Chairman/Chief Executive of the agency, Mohammed Buba Marwa, said yesterday during a training on sensitisation on drugs and drug prevention, treatment and care organised by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime for NLDEA personnel and some journalists, that the arrest of Kyari was a clear message of the agency’s commitment to the fight against drug abuse.
Marwa, a retired general, said those given the responsibility to fight crime must not soil their hands in the crime.