From the beginning of the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) case against the now suspended and detained Deputy Commissioner of Police, Abba Kyari, one fact is clear: the fraud case, which is of international dimension, was more suitable for the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in terms of handling and coordination with the FBI.
The EFCC would have been the entity answering questions about this case from the FBI about how the local investigation would be handled.
The FBI revealed the extent of the alleged involvement of Kyari in a fraud scheme masterminded by the international fraud kingpin, Ramon Abbas, also known as Hushpuppi.
The EFCC as part of its legal role, is to investigate illicit financial flows in and out of Nigeria.
Given the fact that Kyari is involved in an international fraud case, the FBI reportedly rightly contacted the EFCC. Because that was the right approach, but the approach suffered due to Nigeria’s institutional attitude that is contrary to what normally operates in democratic and professional justice settings.
If Nigeria had a functionally efficient and impartial justice system, a place where the EFCC boss does not get death threats, where corruption is not fighting back, where the law enforcement and judicial systems are not weakened by ethnic and religious sentiments, a place where fear and compromise on the part of judges and the police are almost nil, where agency roles are clearly defined, integrity and capacity of the justice system would prevail.
It would have been in the best interest of the Nigeria police force to have completely separated itself from this case as it is one of their officials that is involved, and such distancing was essential for the purpose of impartiality. Their only objective role was to temporarily suspend him as part of their recommendations to the police service commission (PSC). The challenges with policing the police are always present as they can’t be trusted to completely investigate officers.
No wonder, all forms of apparent delays, negative silence, flawed reports, and soft details from the Nigerian police, as noted by the media, prevailed, which are now viewed as cunning ways to shield, cover up, and even exonerate Kyari.
It would have been reasonably appropriate for the Buhari administration, the Nigeria police force, and the police service commission to have pressured or allowed the EFCC to take charge of this matter. And the office of the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) should have been citing investigative reports from the EFCC as it works on the US court’s request for Kyari’s extradition to face trial.
If the EFCC was the agency following up on the investigation and monitoring of Kyari, any further fraudulent and criminal acts could have most likely been limited especially in his position as a suspended officer, an indicted offender, and a wanted suspect. He will likely not get the chance or liberty to get himself into more trouble, like when he was caught on camera handing over $61,000 in cash to an official of the Nigeria’s National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), who has accused him of being “a member of a drug cartel that operates the Brazil-Ethiopia-Nigeria illicit drug pipeline”. He would not have been able to easily and freely lead some officers to work for him in the international drug cartel in his capacity as a now suspended head of the Intelligence Response Team of the Force Investigation and Intelligence Department of the Nigeria Police Force.
In the face of all that transpired on this issue, the Buhari administration is further deepening international and societal mistrust of its justice apparatus. The way the Kyari case has been handled so far continues to reduce public confidence in the country’s law enforcement and justice system.
There is one reality the Buhari administration cannot change, which any incoming administration cannot stop, that is, Abba Kyari, a Nigerian police officer, is wanted by a court in the United States to answer fraud charges.
John Egbeazien Oshodi, who was born in Uromi, Edo State in Nigeria, is an American based Police/Prison Scientist and Forensic/Clinical/Legal Psychologist. A government consultant on matters of forensic-clinical adult/child psychological services in the USA; Chief Educator and Clinician at the Transatlantic Enrichment and Refresher Institute, an Online Lifelong Center for Personal, Professional, and Career Development. He is a former Interim Associate Dean/Assistant Professor at Broward College, Florida. The Founder of the Dr. John Egbeazien Oshodi Foundation, Center for Psychological Health and Behavioral Change in African Settings In 2011, he introduced State-of-the-Art Forensic Psychology into Nigeria through N.U.C and Nasarawa State University, where he served in the Department of Psychology as an Associate Professor. Currently, a Virtual Behavioral Leadership Professor at ISCOM University, Republic of Benin. Founder of the proposed Transatlantic Egbeazien Open University (TEU) of Values and Ethics, a digital project of Truth, Ethics, and Openness. Founder of Psychoafricalytic Psychology. Over forty academic publications and creations, at least 200 public opinion pieces on African issues, and various books have been written by him. He specializes in psycho-prescriptive writings regarding African institutional and governance issues.
Prof. Oshodi wrote in via email@example.com