Pelumi Olajengbesi, one of the Nigeria-based lawyers of Yoruba Nation agitator, Sunday Igboho, has urged the Nigeria Police Force to make the trial of suspended Deputy Commissioner of Police, Abba Kyari, over alleged bribery open.
The Police Service Commission had suspended the “super cop” after a social media celebrity standing trial in the US, Ramos Abbas, known as Hushpuppi, accused him of being complicit in fraud.
The Nigeria police service commission said Kyari’s suspension on Saturday “would subsist pending the outcome of the investigation in respect of his indictment by the Federal Bureau of Investigation of the United States.”
The FBI said on Wednesday that Hushpuppi’s crimes cost his victims almost $24 million in total.
The 37-year-old, known for showing off a lavish lifestyle on social media, was part of “an elaborate scheme to steal more than $1.1 million from a businessperson attempting to finance the construction of a school for children in Qatar,” the FBI said.
According to FBI, citing court documents, Abbas confessed to paying Kyari a bribe for the arrest of a former associate, Kelly Chibuzo Vincent.
“Kyari is a highly decorated deputy commissioner of the Nigeria Police Force who is alleged to have arranged for Vincent to be arrested and jailed at Abbas’ behest,” the FBI wrote, citing an affidavit.
“Kyari also allegedly sent Abbas bank account details for an account into which Abbas could deposit payment for Vincent’s arrest and imprisonment.”
Kyari, who is celebrated for exposing several high-profile crimes in Nigeria, has denied the allegations against him.
Pelumi, who commended the Nigerian police for lunching a probe, also demaded that journalists should be allowed to cover Kyari’s trial.
He made the demand in a statement titled, ‘Suspension of DCP Abba Kyari by Nigeria Police Force pending investigation by the special investigative panel commendable: A demand for transparency and matter to be conducted in an open panel with full press access’.
Part of statement read, “Indeed, it is rather uncommon in our experience as a people to find such spine and resolve in our hero-worship climate where a few persons are revered above the law and due process. IGP Usman Bala has demonstrated appreciable commitment to the resolution of this matter in the interest of truth and justice and must now see that he stands steadfast to this path even in the face of expected pressure to do otherwise.
“DCP Abba Kyari who had hitherto assumed a rather amused and dismissive approach to the serious allegations against his person and office, must take good advantage to clear his name by making himself available for the investigations to allow the Nigeria Police Force to run a fine comb through the allegations brought forward against his person before the SIP led by Deputy Inspector-General Joseph Egbunike.
“The Special Investigation Panel must undertake the task before them with a sense of duty and loyalty only to the truth. It must rid itself of bias considerations for, favourable or unfavourable disposition to DCP Kyari while equally availing him ample opportunity to make a representation of his defence against the allegations against him.
“The very image of the Nigeria Police Force, particularly its ethos and claims to be corruption-free is being examined by the watchful public at national and international levels. IGP Usman Alkali Bala thus have an uphill task to dutifully acquit itself in this matter and in doing so, help save the reputation of the Nigeria Police Force.
“It is therefore a demand in the interest of justice that the conduct of the investigations be transparent and open, with full press access. The Nigeria Police Force should know that Nigerians are struggling to trust the process and in view of this the Press must be allowed unfettered access to its proceedings for record and posterity sake, too.”