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The rise and ‘fall’ of Abba Kyari

At a point in his career, he was seen by many as a Nigerian version of the American super cop, Eliot Ness – an incorruptible…

At a point in his career, he was seen by many as a Nigerian version of the American super cop, Eliot Ness – an incorruptible crime buster on a mission to weed out criminal elements from the society.

Like Ness’s feisty exploits against Al Capone and his Chicago Outfit gang as head of the police team dubbed The Untouchables, suspended DCP Abba Kyari was seen from one crime scene to another leading the police’s Intelligence Response Team (IRT) to crack the nuts of criminality and track down the perpetrators. 

However, unlike many dutiful men of the security services who barely get heard for what they do, Kyari was heard and lavishly seen. This, for cynics, was the first alarm.

Kyari began his ascent to limelight with his appointment as the officer in charge of the defunct Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), Lagos State, in January 2011. He went on to carve a niche for himself by busting syndicates of criminals – armed robbers, kidnappers and Internet fraudsters, among others.  

With family roots traced to Gujba Local Government Area of Yobe State, Kyari was born on March 17, 1975, and grew up in Maiduguri, Borno State, where he schooled to university level. He graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Geography from University of Maiduguri in 1997, and did his mandatory National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) in Akwa Ibom State in 1998.

He joined the Nigeria Police Force as Cadet Assistant Superintendent of Police in 2000 and served at different times at Song, Girei and Numan local governments and made local news for his arrest of a notorious armed robber called, ‘Ndagi’ aka Spirit, who had held Numan, the third biggest town in Adamawa State hostage for years.

He recorded headline-grabbing milestones including the arrests of kidnapping kingpins Evans, in Lagos, and Wadume, in Taraba, and led the rescue of a relative of President Muhammadu Buhari from a kidnappers’ den in Kano.

For years, the senior police officer operated not only as a ‘super cop’ with the proverbial magic wand for unravelling crime, but also a celebrity cop with his life and tasks, including sensitive missions, blogged on Instagram, and other social media platforms.  

It was, however, heart-breaking for many of his fans when, in August last year, details of his close relationship with celebrity internet fraudster Ramon Olorunwa Abbas, alias Hushpuppi, were made public. The United States’ Federal Bureau of Investigation which released the details as part of its probe into a $1.1 million fraud committed by the conman, indicted Kyari as a partner in the fraud.

As sensational as it was, the US government’s 2021 indictment of the ‘super cop’ was not the first time he would be accused of compromise, nor is it likely to be the last, going by the most recent scandal which broke out involving him.

In the past, Kyari and his team were accused of human rights abuses, molesting suspects and converting confiscated property.

The ‘super cop’, who initially denied any link with Hushpuppi when the sordid details of their relationship began resurfacing, kept changing the story by editing the Facebook post 12 times. 

Kyari was subsequently suspended from service and a probe panel instituted to investigate him. But six months after, the police authorities are yet to take a stand on the issue, with many commentators suspecting a cover-up grander than the usual esprit de corps.

With unresolved allegations of gross misconduct pending against him, the latest accusation coming from no less than the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency linking him with drug cartels has sealed Kyari’s reputation as an expert in running with the hare and hunting with the hounds. 

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