Legal Nigeria

The Storm Over Kyari-Hushpuppi’s Scandal


 By Simon Reef Musa

Before the mud was splashed on Deputy Commissioner of Police Abba Kyari over his alleged dealing with multi-millionaire and social media influencer Ramon Abbas, alias Hushpuppi, the police officer from Borno State was a celebrated cop with multiple awards from several organisations. He was not only loved for his sterling performance in the war against criminals afflicting our nation, Kyari seems to be the magic wand in resolving knotty criminal cases.

It is due to his performance profile that once made him one of the few honest and determined police officers needed to resolve criminal cases. When he stepped in the case of Lagos-based kidnapper Evans, the short man was thrown out of business and since then, the notorious kingpin has been cooling his legs in detention, awaiting his day in court.

Kyari, before his suspension, was always here and there, but more there than here. He was dreaded and most feared by criminals and their gangs. He ensured these undesirable elements were chained with the dread of his fearsomeness. Unlike some security personnel who prefer working under the shadows, the super cop from the North-east geo-political zone always operated under the floodlights. His many supporters took to their social media platforms to celebrate him as he battled outlaws from one state to the other. His awards are too many to count and he attracted admiration from far and near.


However, his popularity rating nosedived when the American Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) recently requested for his extradition to face charges over his involvement with the controversial media influencer Hushpuppi. According to the American agency, there is evidence that the super cop was involved with Hushpuppi in arranging the arrest of a rival gang leader engaged in questionable matters over attempts to swindle an Arab of the sum of over $1 million.

If what the FBI alleges is true, then, the days and months ahead may quite be tough and lonely for the super cop. Going through the report by the FBI that has gained global traction, the end may soon be near for the man whom many believe, before his arrest, was a step away from being crowned as the Inspector General of Police in waiting.

The social media and other information highway has been enmeshed in various conspiracy theories around the matter in order to either condemn or exculpate Kyari of an alleged crime that is still a subject of intense investigations by the FBI. Not only have some people that are sympathetic to the super cop insisting that the scandal was hatched to bring him down from his excellent position as one of Nigeria’s most courageous and performing DCP, others have alleged that the man whose performance has been attested by the multiple awards may not be, after all, clean.

All these allegations and counter allegations on Kyari are aimed at muddling the matter in a bid to either gain public sympathy or attract the wrath of the public. Fortunately, the main accusers of Kyari are not Nigerians who are easily swayed by emotional outbursts. The FBI works with facts and when one is found attempting to game the American system, no force in the world can stop them from bringing such a man to justice. In a country where systems work and citizens are equal before the law, fighting to extricate one who is guilty of an accusation can only amount to an exercise in futility. That is the American way. Unlike in Nigeria where the system worships the man in power, in the US the excesses of the man in power is checked by the system.

America’s systems are solid and insulated from political and other pressures that work against equity and justice. It is a system that believes in the defense of all citizens, no matter their status and membership of groups. There is no “I beg” in the American system. In America, once you can prove your innocence over an alleged crime, there are higher chances that you would get justice. That is not to say that the US systems are immune from mistakes. Even when they make mistakes, there are rooms for reviews in a bid to ensure justice is served to all. That is why even after several decades of conviction, there are rooms for reviewing cases. When court verdicts are found to be flawed, there are inherent mechanisms adopted by the system to apologise and compensate judicial victims of such verdicts or their relations in case the wrongly convicted are deceased.

As Kyari awaits his extradition to the US to defend his role in the saga, we are left with two camps in Nigeria that are attempting to furiously twist narrations in their favour. Since the Kyari-Hushpuppi scandal broke out, there have been unceasing engagements between the two camps of the debate. While most of the protagonists and antagonists in the fight have employed shadowy figures and pseudonyms to advance their side of the story, depending from which camp one belongs to.  I have followed the discourse since the story broke, but I have to recognise the fact that it is apparent that the Borno police officer overreached himself by dealing with the self-styled media influencer whose worth is put at over $20 million.

Of course, until Hushpuppi is convicted, he remains innocent until proven guilty by the court. For those who are running their pen and mouth wild over the matter, it is necessary to remind them that the constitutions of democratic nations presume the innocence of accused persons until they are convicted by the courts. For those crying foul that the Nigerian authorities should not allow the extradition of Kyari to the United State to face the charge of criminal connivance, they have easily forgotten that there is an existing extradition treaty between both countries. It does not serve any one any good to fight against Kyari’s extradition to face charges slammed against him by the FBI. It is safe for now to presume that Kyari is innocent and should be encouraged to go to the US and clear his name of all the charges.

It amounts to mere mischief and crass ignorance for some people to allege that the dilemma of the Borno-born police officer is linked with attempts by some persons to pluck him from his envious position and throw him into a dungeon of shame. Before this scandal broke out, it was an undeniable fact that Kyari was destined for the top, and was only after his name had been smeared by this scandal that made many of his admirers to have a peep into the other side of what Kyari’s proponents are referring to as “fairy tale’ by the FBI.

At this point, it does not serve the interest of our nation to get enmeshed into a matter that is being handled by the FBI. Nigerians should learn to keep their fingers crossed and allow unfettered investigations into the entire episode that has portrayed our country as a nation of criminals that are supported by our security system.  The FBI should be encouraged to get to the bottom of the matter. The Inspector General of Police Force, Mr Usman Alkali Baba, has done the needful by suspending Kyari and appointing DCP Tunji Disu as leader of the police Intelligence Response Team (IRT). We should allow the wheels of thorough investigations to go full circle and unearth things that might have been done in the dark. It is only when the FBI are done with their findings and the court adjudicates on the matter, that the entire truth shall be made known.

This Kyari-Hushpuppi matter is gradually becoming a dilemma that should not distract us from the urgency of saving our country from the hands of criminals. If Kyari is found, at the end of the day, to have shared a bed with an alleged criminal, then, there can be no escape for him. Hushpuppi and Kyari are Nigerians and because the duo represent the world of security and alleged criminality, we should not muddle up the water and turn the entire episode into ‘us versus them’ saga.

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