Abba Kyari, a suspended deputy commissioner of police, has accused the operatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) of providing cover for drug cartels to ferry in cocaine into Nigeria.
Mr Kyari, who is standing trial at the Federal High Court in Abuja over his alleged involvement in a cocaine deal, said “corrupt” NDLEA officials framed him up for demanding a reward for a whistleblower who aided the the police Intelligence Response Team in the arrest of a suspect.
The suspended cop, who headed the elite police squad, the Intelligence Response Team (IRT), reputed for busting several criminal cartels, has been in the eye of the storm after he was first fingered in a multi-million-dollars Internet fraud case by U.S government.
Mr Kyari is wanted in the U.S for allegedly aiding and abetting Abbas Ramon popularly known as Hushpuppi, an Instagram celebrity, to perpetrate a $1.1 million fraud.
While Hushpuppi is awaiting judgement after pleading guilty to the charges in a separate case filed at the Central District Court of Central District of California, Mr Kyari, his alleged accomplice, is held by the NDLEA for a different offence.
On March 7, Mr Kyari and four other police officers were arraigned before Emeka Nwite of the Federal High Court in Abuja on charges relating to illicit cocaine dealing.
Chibuna Umeibe and Emeka Ezenwanne, who are non-police officers, admitted their guilt in the unlawful importation of 21.35kilogrammes of cocaine.
Meanwhile, Mr Kyari and the four other police officers pleaded not guilty to the eight-count charge.
But following Mr Kyari’s arrest on February 12 up until last week when he was arraigned, the suspended cop sued the anti-narcotics agency for violating his fundamental human rights.
He demanded N500 million compensation for the breach of his rights to freedom of movement, among others.
Aiding drug baron
In a court document deposed to by one Muhammad Nur Usman who identified himself as Mr Kyari’s younger brother, he told the court that NDLEA officials usually cleared the drug baron “and even escort him from the airport to his destination,” Vanguard Newspaper reported.
Giving further details that led to his travails at the hands the anti-narcotics agency, Mr Kyari said, “That on that fateful day, the suspect as usual shipped drugs (cocaine) from Ethiopia to Enugu Airport. The officer of NDLEA cleared him within the airport, then officer of FIB-IRT arrested the suspect with the help of an information.
“That before the informant accepted to work with the officers of FIB-IRT, they both had an agreement to compensate the informant.
“That officers of FIB-IRT, having noticed that officers of NDLEA were the ones clearing the said suspect with his drugs (cocaine), they immediately took the suspect to NDLEA and also reported those officers involved in the act.
“That instead of the NDLEA to handle the matter accordingly and bring their officers involved to book, they decided to frustrate the informant, thereby refusing to compensate the informant.
“That it was at this juncture that the attention of the DCP Abba Kyari was called, who because the NDLEA officer involved is his friend, decided to intervene for the purpose of compensating the informant.
“That the NDLEA officer who refused to compensate the informant was the one who framed DCP Abba Kyari up on a trumped-up allegation that he was trying to bribe him.
“That the agent of the respondent declared the applicant wanted because of a mere allegation that he was trying to bribe an NDLEA officer without sufficient proof.
“That the Nigerian Police Force, based on the allegation of the respondent, arrested the applicant on February 12, 2022, and handed over to the NDLEA.”
Although Mr Nwite,who is adjudicating on Mr Kyari’s cocaine trial, adjourned ruling on the latter’s bail application, the embattled cop continues to press for his freedom from the NDLEA through another lawsuit being heard by Inyang Ekwo, another federal judge in Abuja.