Abba Kyari and a bridge too far

Kenechukwu Obiezu

Kenechukwu Obiezu

The past few months have certainly been tough for Nigerias super cop Abba Kyari, a Deputy Commissioner of Police, who used to head the Inspector General of Polices Intelligence Response Team in the Nigerian Police Force Headquarters in Abuja but who now stands suspended. He has found himself unexpectedly shoved from glory for his alleged involvement with serial internet fraudster Ramon Abbas aka Hushpuppi who now cools his heels in a US prison.

In Nigeria, it is easy to fall from grace or at least a semblance of same. Because things do not work as they should, many who look down with contempt on Nigerians from where they are proudly perched on their high pedestals all the while hiding secret sins are soon exposed. Thus, it quickly happens in the country that when the wind sails, the rump of the chicken is exposed for all to see.

Nigeria is getting better, but for many Nigerians, corruption still lives and breathes within the country, its grotesque fingerprints appearing in many aspects of national life.The corrosive effects of corruption are also widely present in the psyche of many especially those on the payrolls of governments at different levels who absolutely see every opportunity as one to enrich themselves including the services they should render to others as part of their work.

This sense of entitlement has proven devastatingly deleterious. Many Nigerians leave different encounters with their fellow Nigerians who staff government bodies with the unmistakable feeling that they have been robbed, ripped of their hard-earned money.

Mr. Abba Kyari who served in the Nigeria Police Force must have felt a dizzying amount of this sense of entitlement. His encounters with serial internet fraudster Ramon Abbas aka Hushpuppi and five others in the US which are gradually coming to light as the American Federal Bureau of Investigation seeks his extradition certainly lent credence to this sense of entitlement. To make matters worse, he was a high-ranking member of a police force long perceived by many Nigerians as notoriously corrupt.

Then, at some point in his career, he was also involved with the now disbanded F-SARS whose highhandedness pulled the country into the flames of anti-government protests that reverberated around the world in 2020.

Thus, when it emerged that he had been in bed with a notorious fraudster, many Nigerians rejoiced at his fate. Then the usually nauseating politics of Nigerian investigations began. He was a wanted man in the most powerful country in the world and a request had been made for him. But would Nigeria extradite him? Would a country where many of the powerful and well-heeled are well above the law agree to extradite him?

Investigations have gone ahead and Nigeria`s Attorney-general only recently hinted that Mr. Kyari may be extradited after all to face charges as Nigeria and the US were discussing the situation. The AGF also disclosed that reasonable grounds for suspicion have also been established against Mr. Kyari.

The difficulty in getting Nigeria to work is that so many people seem to have their fingers soiled by the ointment of corruption. How many Nigerian public officers can today beat their chests and say that in the course of serving Nigeria their teeth have not been occasionally stained by the sour grapes of corruption? Not many and therein lies the problem.

For Nigeria to work and work properly, the country is in need of men who are not necessarily saints but who are well above board, at least above suspicion. This is a critical need because sometimes, it is just one person that is needed to begin something important and transformational.

For the country to work, people of integrity need to find themselves in strategic positions where they can then take incisive decisions that marry initiative with integrity, intellect and industry to achieve the best results. However, this has hardly been the case. What the country is largely saddled with is a system that struggles badly, quickly and completely swallowing in the mire of corruption whoever it is that dares to confront the rot.

There is also an urgent need to identify all those who serve Nigeria by sabotage in key positions. These are the people who allow themselves to be induced in any form to do or refuse to do a thing in the course of their work. People like them do not deserve to be in the service of the giant of Africa for any reason.

Nigeria is on a journey to better days. But for the country to get there, all those who see service to the country as one big opportunity to line their private pockets must be made to think twice.

Meanwhile Nigerians are keenly observing the unfolding of events in the Kyari saga to see if anyone would be placed not just above Nigerian law but US law too.

Kene Obiezu,

keneobiezu@gmail.com

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