The integrity of Nigerian state has been questioned and all its security agencies including Department of State Security (DSS), Nigeria Police and Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) are on public trial. Whether they would pass this test is left to the current administration.
In particular, the President Muhammadu Buhari’s government which prided itself as an anti-corruption administration is on trial in public glare and the whole world is watching to see, if the integrity of this great nation will be protected or shattered on the basis of personal interest and loyality.
During the weekend, I watched a video of popular human right radio program, Brekete family anchored by Ahmad Issa, the ordinary president. The segment in question was the continuation of a fraud case, allegedly involving Abba Kyari, chief of staff to President Muhammadu Buhari.
The matter in question also involves allegation of impunity, human right violation and high level criminality perpetrated by legitimate state institutions such as Department of State Security (DSS) under the leadership of the recently sacked Director General of the agency, Lawal Daura, with the involvement of Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris as well as the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Surprisingly, some people came in defense of Abba Kyari from his home state of Borno and according to them; they came to speak about the character of the accused and to testify to his reputation. Amongst them were many old people, as well as some young men. However, apart from explaining how long they have known Abba Kyari and the jobs he has done before his current position as chief of staff to the president, nothing relating to the matter in question is within their knowledge.
After the victims had narrated their story and opportunity was given for observation, a young man who claimed to have investigated the matter as a concerned observer took the microphone and attempted to discredit the fraud case without taking into account, facts already established as claimed by the two victims, Ayuba Bako and a Police DSP.
The young man who was obviously doing a spin job wanted to fault the claim of the victims in a pathetic way. Thankfully, the host, Ahmad Issa did a wonderful job by setting the ball rolling in the right direction. The very passionate ordinary president also did justice to the other elderly men who tried to override issues with personal sentiments. Brekete family must be really commended.
I have keenly followed the matter from inception and have become an interested observer like the rest of the citizens and from my observation, the facts that has been established so far is as follows:
1. A victim of fraud, Ayuba Bako who is from the same town as Chief of Staff to the president, Abba Kyari was duped to the tune of N30 million over a contract worth N300 million. He alleged that the fraudulent action was carried out by Abba Kyari along with one Ado Sanni.
2. A police DSP, who was brought into the matter by people owed by the victim investigated the matter and established some facts that are incontrovertible. The officer established contact with Ado Sanni, who confirmed the deal and subsequently reached out to Abba Kyari, who claimed ignorance of the matter. Ado Sanni confirmed he was paid the sum totaling about N30million by the victim under the instruction of Abba Kyari as alleged.
3. As a result of the police investigation and possible exposure of the culprits, more than 10 fully armed security vehicles full of DSS officers were dispatched by Lawal Daura, Director General of Department of State Security (DSS) to arrest the DSP dead or alive.
4. Upon his arrest, the DSP was made to call the victim and both of them were illegally kept in DSS detention for over a month without any charge. In the course of their detention, they were separately asked to criminalize each other, which they refused to do. The police DSP was also asked to criminalize Ado Sanni as the culprit, thereby exonerating Abba Kyari, but he refused to compromise.
5. At the DSS office, the police DSP claimed to have established that indeed, the Chief of Staff to the president, Abba Kyari was responsible for the fraud, which was why he ordered his unlawful arrest and detention. The DSP claimed to have not only met face to face with DG DSS, Lawal Daura during his detention, he also claimed to have met with Abba Kyari, chief of staff to the president, both of whom queried him on why he wanted to expose the chief of staff before he was dumped in detention.
6. If we leave the issue of fraud aside, it has been established, as claimed by the police DSP that the chief of Staff to the President, Abba Kyari in conjunction with DG DSS, Lawal Daura are responsible for their unlawful arrest, assault, illegal detention and violation of human dignity. Unraveling the reason for their illegal detention may likely lead us to those behind the fraud.
7. The Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris was also involved needs to explain his role, because after the police DSP was released by DSS, he was handed over to the office of police IG, who took his statement containing indicting allegation against Abba Kyari and Lawal Daura, yet proceeded to put him in another illegal detention for over a month without investigating those he indicted in his statement.
8. And after a month in police detention, the DSP was eventually released without any charge, and sent on a course by the police.
9. Few months after their release, the victim of fraud, Ayuba Bako who is determined to get justice proceeded to write a petition to the acting Chairman of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and after several rejection by agents of the commission because the name of Abba Kyari was featured, some courageous EFCC agents investigated the matter and established a case of fraud against Abba Kyari as alleged by the victim, but before they could act any further on the matter, those agents were removed from their offices.
10. The victim waited in vain for EFCC to help him get justice, so he decided to report to a human right radio, Brekete family.
What surprised me is that despite the nature of the matter and the many numerous questions begging for answer yet to be provided by the authority, some over bearing busy bodies didn’t allow the chief of staff to defend himself, if indeed he was wrongly accused, neither did they allow DSS, Police and EFCC to deny the allegations made against them by the victims. They came to the public glare to expose their inhumanity by associating with possible oppressors who could turn around to also oppress them.
They came to defend Abba Kyari, chief of staff to the president who can easily defend himself to the highest level if indeed he his innocent. How easy do we defend people who can defend themselves, while leaving those who really need our help?
These defenders of the powerful were not there when the victim was allegedly discussing with Abba Kyari in a hotel in Abuja, they were not there when money was allegedly paid into the account of Ado Sanni under the instruction of Abba Kyari, they were not there when the DSP investigated and allegedly established some facts indicting the chief of staff, they were not there when DSS allegedly arrested the victim and the DSP and kept them in unlawful detention for months, they were not there when the DSP was subsequently handed over to the IG of police and was further remanded in Asokoro Police station for more than a month, neither were they there, when the victim allegedly went to EFCC to submit a petition and those who investigated the matter were removed from their positions.
These are issues that should concern any well meaning Nigerian who truly want to stand for justice.
If these defenders of the powerful man were not there to witness these entire scenarios, how can they confidently come to the public to defend a man who can defend himself but has not done so?
To see some of our people queuing behind people who don’t need them, while abandoning those who truly do has caused me so much grief and discomfort.
While it is not in my place or that of anyone to conclude that Abba Kyari is indeed guilty as charged, I think the information in the public space has sufficient merit to warrant a proper investigation to unravel the role played by all the identified suspects and the indicted security agencies. This is what will uphold our integrity as a nation or shatter it.
Hamzat is a human rights ambassador and executive director of Foundation for Peace Professionals.