A lawyer, Kabir Akingbolu, released a video months before the suspended Deputy Police Commissioner, Abba Kyari, was enmeshed in his current alleged scandal involving some drug traffickers. In this interview with VICTOR AYENI, he explains how authorities have been shielding Kyari
According to a video made available in August 2021, you said you filed a petition against the embattled Deputy Police Commissioner, Abba Kyari, after the #EndSARS protests. What was this petition about?
The petition was filed against Abba Kyari in respect of his criminality committed against my client, Hafeez Mojeed. With some of his cohorts, he arrested my client in a commando style. They got to Mojeed’s house around 9:30pm; the wife was five months old pregnant. They laid them on the ground, collected all their belongings, including the golden wedding rings of both the wife and husband, their travelling and title documents, wristwatch and his 2012 model Honda Accord. They collected 32 items from them which we listed.
After collecting all these things, they took my client to custody. Mojeed said he did not know what he did and he was held in custody for 14 days. They took his ATM and collected its password. There was N840,000 in the account; Kyari and his men used this money to buy things in Shoprite, Chicken Republic until the balance left in that account was minus N200.
Not only that, after beating Mojeed to a pulp to the point where he was dripping with blood, he confessed to them that he had a fixed deposit of N41,800,000 in an account. They took him to a bank and brought a guy with them, one Mr Obi, who was one of their agents used to commit such criminality. There, they ordered my client to unfix the money and transfer all of it to Mr Obi, claiming that he was the rightful owner of the money.
But Mojeed said he did not know and had never met Mr Obi before, so they left the bank, went to a boutique, removed Mojeed’s clothes stained with blood and bought him another one. Then they took him back to the bank and made him unfix the account and transferred the money to Obi and that was the end of it.
There was another money in another bank which was N15m. On getting to this bank, the woman said they should apply but they would have to wait till Monday to get the money and that day was Friday, so they did not unfreeze that one.
Later, I went to Kyari’s office and challenged him on why he withdrew my client’s money and Kyari, in the presence of three of my lawyers and Mojeed’s wife, said “Yes we took his money.” When I reminded him that he had no court order, he then took me to an inner room in his office and when we got there, he said, “Your client is a Yahoo-Yahoo boy, he is not the owner of the money, and there is another N15m with him, so if you allow us to collect it, we will give you N5m and we will take N10m and will release all the properties we seized from him. But if you say you are a human rights lawyer and you shout, you will not get any of those properties.”
I refused to partake in that deal and then he asked me what I wanted and I told him to take my client to court and I will take the bail. He took Mojeed to court, charged him for N97m fraud but he did not show up in court for the case and at the end of the day, the matter proceeded and lasted for 14 months. Kyari and his boys never showed up for one day. Eventually, this matter and another one they filed at the Federal High Court, were struck out.
Was the petition you submitted ever taken up by the police or was a panel ever set up to look into these numerous allegations made against Kyari?
Up till today, my client has become a pauper due to all the properties collected from him. We wrote a petition to the National Human Rights Commission, they contacted Kyari but he did not come. They called us that they were going to write their report, up till today they did not write it. We wrote to Independent Corrupt Practices Commission, they said they would look into it, but did not reply. We wrote another one to them, no response; we have copies of all these letters.
We wrote a letter to Deputy Inspector General of Police Zone II, he did not do anything. We wrote to the Commissioner of Police, Lagos State, he did not do anything. We wrote to the Assistant Inspector General, he did not do anything. We wrote to Police Service Commission, nothing was done. So we now went to court attaching all these exhibits detailing all the affidavits and the bad things that were done to my client.
Justice (Hadiza) Shagari gave us a judgment and said they should release all the properties that were seized from him and she released to him the sum of N41,800,000 collected from his account and the one taken from his ATM and awarded him extra N5m damages against the police, but these properties were not released.
We then wrote a petition to the #EndSARS panel. At this panel, the lawyer to Kyari confessed before the court that they indeed took the car of the petitioner but did not take his company documents, and I made a plea that an order should be made to produce all that was taken from my client but they failed to do this till date.
That panel also tried to shield Kyari. I have publicly stated that Kyari is a criminal worse than Evans because he also kidnap people, take them to the bush, collects their money and kills them, and I challenged him to sue me for defamation or libel if he is truly a ‘super cop.’ He has never done so till today.
In 2019, the Intelligence Response Team and two human rights organisations accused Kyari of fraudulently taking over the multi-billion worth of property owned by one suspected kidnapper, Collins Ezenwa, who was killed by the police. Within the ambit of the Law, do the Police have the right to confiscate the property of citizens?
No, under the law there is no such thing. In fact, the president of a country cannot even confiscate property neither can a governor of a state do that. That is why when a governor wants to take over your land, he will do a gazette and give you a notice that this land will be used for public interest, he cannot even give it out. But to confiscate and use it for his own advantage is what Kyari does. There is no law that gives police officers that right to raid people and take their property.
Aside from that, Kyari does anything he likes and kills people in detention. I handled another case in 2013 in which four accused persons were killed in his custody and when I took the matter up and filed a petition, he threatened the families involved and they came to me to beg me to hand off from the case because they did not want to die.
If you take a look at all the allegations against Kyari, they take one form: he always acts for somebody, like in the case of Mojeed, he said he was acting for one man in Malaysia. When my client was in detention, he was also forced to issue a cheque of N150,000 to one Nureni Alabi on three occasions. This is what he does everywhere.
There was a case in Jos where he killed a suspect in custody and the suspect’s people went to court, and the Federal High Court gave an order that Kyari should produce the person either alive or dead. He went to file an appeal and a stay of execution, if he was really a ‘super cop,’ he should have explained what happened instead of resorting to an appeal, which more or less indicts him.
How did Kyari become a ‘super cop’ in the Nigerian consciousness; a school of thought has pointed at the mediocrity entrenched in the system, some have blamed the media. What do you think was responsible for it?
I can tell you that he used the media. He is an empty fellow and several of us have been shouting that this man is not who he professed to be, but because he knows how to use the press, our voices were not heard. In the Special Anti-Robbery Squad office in Ikeja, you will find a plaque erected there close to Kyari. Where did he get the money to build that edifice in the first place? That structure is a murder den; they torture people to death there.
My client made gory revelations at the #EndSARS panel that when he was in custody, they killed a lot of people at night and he helped them to pack three dead bodies which they disposed of. These things happened under Kyari’s supervision and I have my evidence and even court judgments against him.
Abba Kyari is an overrated cop. He is a super fraud. What he does is that, when he arrests 10 criminals, he will settle and collect money from eight or nine of them, he will now use one of them to make a noise in the media. He knows how to use the press effectively. If every policeman in Nigeria has to be making videos and granting press interviews in respect of the criminals he has arrested, I do not think our airspace will be free of such things.
With the unfolding of the Hushpuppi scandal, I have been vindicated and I can tell you, if not for his recent offence, the police authority might not have done anything to him. Because they said somebody is on suspension and he was still actively involved in arrests, it means it was a paper suspension. In a good country, the investigation should not take more than a week or two for such a heinous allegation as that. But up till today, we do not see the report of the committee of the PSC on the matter.
It has been argued that the recent unearthing of Kyari’s drug trafficking offences was created as a justifiable legal and administrative means to prevent his extradition to the United States. Is this true?
No, in fact, I marvel at the way we reason in this country. We should actually be grateful to God that this man did what he did, because he was undone by his own follies. If not for the drug offence he committed, he would have probably become the Inspector General of Police. This man was still collecting his salary, was still going to work and we did not know until he was caught. In a serious system, such an officer should not have lasted up to a month before his fate was determined.
Drug offence is more criminal than any offence I know. If Kyari had gone to the US, they would probably give him three or four years and if he is of good behaviour, they can let him go after a few years on parole, but in Nigeria, drug offence carries about 21 years imprisonment and with the kind of person he is, the sentencing will be horrible.
Under the law, he must first of all answer this drug charge, whether he will be convicted or not. So if he is convicted or not he must serve his term before he can be extradited to America. But I am telling you, his extradition offence is lesser than the drug offence.
For a person of his repute, a senior officer, to be able to sell 20kg of cocaine within few hours shows that he is a member of a very powerful cartel and the discussion shows that that was not his first time so people should look deep down to track his allies and know those behind him working with him in this criminality.
Looking at the degree of influence wielded by the acclaimed ‘super cop’ in the drug cartel case, the Hushpuppi and the case of your client, can we deduce that Kyari had the backing of powerful figures in the system who have enabled him to get away with his misdeeds all these years?
Yes, he has serious backing from the powers that be, from all sectors – from politicians and hierarchies in the Nigeria Police. They will say he is ‘the most decorated Nigerian officer’ in the country, but we are calling on Nigerian government to prosecute him immediately and all the laurels and awards that he was honoured with should be jettisoned because he is not worthy of them.