The Nigeria Police Force (NPF) says its investigation into the cocaine deal involving DCP Abba Kyari and four other police officers, revealed that some agents of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) stationed at the Akanu Ibiam International Airport in Enugu are on the payroll of drug cartels.
According to a statement by police spokesman, CSP Olumuyiwa Adejobi, upon the demand for the arrest of Kyari and his cohorts, the Inspector General of Police ordered a high-level, discreet, and in-house investigation into the allegations.
CSP Adejobi disclosed that the interim investigation’s report revealed that two (2) international drug couriers identified as Chibunna Patrick Umeibe and Emeka Alphonsus, both males, were arrested at Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu on the 19th of January, 2022 upon their arrival from Addis Ababa aboard an Ethiopian Airlines flight ET917.
Adejobi further stated that the police investigation also established that the international narcotics cartel involved in the case has strong ties with some officers of the NDLEA at the Enugu Airport who are on their payroll.
“The two arrested drug couriers confirmed that the modus is for the transnational drug barons to conspire with the NDLEA officers on duty and send them their pre-boarding photographs for identification, seamless clearance, and unhindered passage out of the airport with the narcotics being trafficked.
“The two arrested drug couriers also confirmed that they have been enjoying this relationship with the NDLEA officers at the Akanu Ibiam International Airport since 2021 and had in this instant case of 19th January 2022, been identified and cleared by the NDLEA officers as customary, having received their pre-departure photographs and other details prior to their arrival in Enugu, and were on their way out with the narcotics when they were apprehended by the Police,” Adejobi disclosed.
He said police investigations report also indicted DCP Abba Kyari, who had been on suspension for his alleged involvement in a different fraud case being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI), for complicity in the allegation of official corruption, tampering with narcotics exhibit and sundry unprofessional conducts that negate the standard administrative and investigative protocols of the Force as well as extant criminal laws.
The police spokesman however emphasized that DCP Abba Kyari’s involvement in these allegations occurred while his suspension from service was subsisting.
While handing over the indicted cops, the Inspector General of Police also formally requested that the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency should ensure the identification, arrest, and investigation of the agency’s officers who have also been found to be colluding with the international drug cartel involved in this case.
The IGP assured the public of his administration’s commitment to upholding the tenets and values of policing in line with the agenda of ethical regeneration, restoration of professional standard, enhancement of the anti-corruption drive, respect for the rule of law, and inter-agency collaboration in the drive to stabilise the internal security order of the country.
Reacting to the police’ claim, NDLEA spokesman, Femi Babafemi, argued on Wednesday that the agency has no reason to shield anyone who may be indicted in the course of the ongoing investigation of the 25kg cocaine deal.
Mr Babafemi debunked claims suggesting that the drug mules involved in the case contacted its officers in Enugu. The agency’s image-maker asserted that on the contrary, the traffickers, who were apprehended at the airport, were in touch with the police team led by DCP Abba Kyari.
He assured Nigerians that the NDLEA remains committed to the evidence-based investigation and its resolve cannot be weakened by any misrepresentation of facts. Babafemi on behalf of the NDLEA quoted from the transcript of Abba Kyari’s recorded conversation with an undercover officer and a portion of ASP James Bawa’s statement, another officer who was arrested in connection with the deal.
The spokesman explained that ASP James Bawa in his statement to the police revealed that “he was called by an informant identified as IK from Brazil who told him that a drug courier will be arriving on board Ethiopian Airlines in Enugu”.
Bawa in his confession further explained that “a pointer from IK, the Brazil-based informant met with him at about 1420hrs on 19th January 2022 outside the airport and showed him a picture of the courier. Subsequently, they sighted the suspect as he exited the airport terminal after all arrival clearance formalities, and he was arrested with another associate”.
The NDLEA also disclosed that in his own recorded conversation with an undercover officer, Abba Kyari said, “they are greedy, seriously greedy (referring to his informants), we tried to have them accept 40% but they refused, except 50%; they know the rudiment of the deal very well; they are the ones that do the packing. From Brazil, one of the informants accompanied it to Ethiopia.
“You understand; one of the informants accompanied the goods to Ethiopia, one of the informants that give us information. He is the boy of the big baron.
“Addis, from Addis it will be given to those to proceed further with it, he will get their snapshots without their knowledge.
“Yes, he will reveal those that are conveying it further, get snapshots of theirs without their knowledge and send them to us (Abba Kyari’s team). So, we already know the goods, picture and the clothes they are wearing, hope you understand, we know your name, he will give us everything. So, automatically my team will just be waiting, they will just see you and arrest you.”
Responding to the NDLEA officer’s question on whether his boys are usually stationed inside or outside the airport, Abba Kyari said, “Yes, yes, some are outside while some are inside. They will just allow you to finish arrival formalities and arrest you the moment you come out.”
In buttressing his argument, Mr Babafemi was of the opinion that the confession from Kyari and his colleague leaves no doubt and emphatically establishes who the cartel was relating with and their modus operandi.