“Kyari’s case with the FBI is a quality test on our pride, hope, and future.”
Police Deputy Commissioner Abba Kyari is not your regular Nigerian police officer. Both on the media and in the field, he leaves the impression that he is just the best. He has been instrumental to many high-crime bursting outings. In consequence, he has gained a reputation as one that can solve difficult crime cases across Nigeria. Definitely, not without reservations. There have been some questions about his methods, which many argued were usually illegal because they include rights abuses and sometimes extrajudicial killings. There are concerns about the status of some confiscated properties from kidnappers.
But all those have been heavily downplayed owing to the success of Kyari in bursting crimes which is widely acknowledged. In fact, some people actually excuse some Kyari related excesses as part of the hazards of his job as a hard nut crime buster. Abba Kyari also has maintained a cozy relationship with the media. With his success in high-profile cases, it was easy for the media to effortlessly polish his wits and bravado to the public’s admiration, who are now earnestly waiting for his eventual confirmation as Nigeria’s Police Inspector General.
The fact is that the media largely, now, does not provide useful information to law enforcement.
In Nigeria, the culture of “press release” has made media less and less vital. Law enforcement in Nigeria now maintains a cozy relationship with the media which they service. It is absolutely normal for a media practitioner in Nigeria to be called to any “press meeting” and thereafter go home with an envelope. Generally, it stands to reason that under this circumstance, it is challenging for the media to write anything that may infuriate security operatives. The fact is that the media largely, now, does not provide useful information to law enforcement. They largely lack the courage or even will to interrogate some of the methods of this law enforcement in fighting crime. What they do is maintain the status quo. It is almost impossible to find a different report, investigative, and more in-depth analysis of any issue in which law enforcement is interested.
The media now does not report beyond what was said by the law enforcement during press parley. What this basically means is that beyond the saintly, perfect, professional, and astute image in the media, there could be more, and usually, there are. So was the case of Obinwanne Okeke, with a master’s degree from a European university, on Forbes list, with a business attached to his name, fleets of exotic cars, going around the world on credible platforms giving talks, yet, he was an internet fraudster. Obinwanne Okeke, like Abba Kyari, was the talk of the town and the people’s darling. Something must be wrong with how we arrive at selecting the people we project to the world as our bests.
Something must be wrong with how we arrive at selecting the people we project to the world as our bests.
The fact is that anybody with a faint knowledge of internet fraud in Nigeria can tell that for any and every successful heist, the internet fraudster, law enforcement agents, bankers, and sometimes, politicians are involved. Some fraudsters in Nigeria use the Nigerian Police special registration number on their vehicles. Those who have made big money from internet fraud have access to high-ranking law enforcement who they use at will. They are never harassed by anybody, for whatever reason. This is not strange. That’s unfortunately how Nigeria works.
But for Abba Kyari, it is somewhat different. This is a man that is alleged to have been the best thing to happen to the police in Nigeria, a man that was honoured by Nigeria’s House of Representatives for his giant strides in policing. A man that many hold in very high esteem as the future of modern law enforcement in Nigeria. That is the man being ordered about by Abbas, the internet fraudster, and he obeyed every single instruction given by the fraudster and carried out the same. What is on display is beyond Abba Kyari; it is also not about the Nigeria Police Force, which is a lost cause for many. Kyari’s case with the FBI is a quality test on our pride, hope, and future. For all Abba Kyari represents, that he is frolicking with a fraudster, is putting it mildly. He was actually helping the fraudster defraud while also punishing a whistleblower who wants to spoil the job for the fraudster. That such a man somehow has become the face of modern policing and crime bursting in Nigeria is beyond words.
He was actually helping the fraudster defraud while also punishing a whistleblower who wants to spoil the job for the fraudster.
Maybe, seeing how Nigeria works, it was too much to think that such a high-ranking officer visible in combating crime is a saint. We are again reminded that there cannot be purity in sin. Perhaps, Nigeria can always afford what we already know of the country, nothing new. Kyari existed only in our imagination. That imagination is possible, but he, like most other Nigerians living above their means, has questions to answer, much fewer people without any means at all, yet living big. And that may be why the rest of the world does not accept our standards as reliable or capable of competing on the world stage. Wherever there are difficult questions that lack answers and puzzles that defy solutions, it is a red flag. Where ever there is an abuse of process, there’s no excuse not to investigate the problem. But that is in other parts of the world, not in Nigeria.
It is sad, painfully unfortunate, to see people who are marks of excellence by our regrettable standards, confirmed by our institutions, dragged on the world stage as criminals. Such a shame! We should really be worried.
♦ Ebuka Onyekwelu, strategic governance exponent, is a columnist with the WAP
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