The Inspector-General of Police, Usman Baba, didn’t shut down satellite units of the Intelligence Response Team and Special Tactical Squads in the country, acting Force Public Relations Officer, Muyiwa Adejobi, has said.
Adejobi made this clarification in a telephone chat with The PUNCH on Tuesday while reacting to reports (not by The PUNCH) that the police boss ordered the closure of IRT formations nationwide following the indictment of suspended Head of the IRT, DCP Abba Kyari, in a narcotics deal.
“The report is untrue, the IGP didn’t shut IRT and tactical squads in the country,” Adejobi told our correspondent.
The PUNCH had earlier reported that the IGP on Monday handed over Kyari to the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency for prosecution for alleged link in drug trafficking after the anti-narcotics agency released damning photos and evidence to nail Kyari.
NDLEA spokesperson, Femi Babafemi, at a press briefing in Abuja on Monday, had chronicled how Kyari belonged to a drug cartel that operates the Brazil-Ethiopia-Nigeria illicit drug pipeline.
The anti-narcotics agency said Kyari contacted one of its officers in Abuja and struck a deal to secure the release of a total of 25kg seized cocaine and offered $61,400 to NDLEA officers who played along until his arrest.
The NDLEA also said it had photo and video evidence against Kyari.
The IGP in a statement through the FPRO had corroborated the NDLEA’s findings, saying incontrovertible evidence indicted Kyari in the drug crimes.
He said the affected police officers have been transferred to the NDLEA for prosecution. “The concerned officers include DCP Abba Kyari, ACP Sunday Ubuah, ASP Bawa James, ASP John Umoru (at large), Inspr. Simon Agrigba and John Nuhu. They have all been, accordingly, handed over today 14th February 2022 to the NDLEA authorities,” he said.
The IGP also urged the anti-narcotics agency to arrest NDLEA’s officials who colluded with Kyari’s accomplices, especially at the Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu.
Kyari was earlier indicted in 2021 by the Federal Bureau of Investigation in the United States for his alleged role in a $1m scam allegedly perpetrated by alleged international Internet fraudster Ramon Abbas, aka, Hushpuppi and five others.
FBI Special Agent, Andrew Innocenti, had said he obtained voice calls and WhatsApp conversations between Kyari and Hushpuppi, adding that Hushpuppi also paid the police officer N8m or $20,600 for the arrest and detention of a “co-conspirator,” Chibuzo Vincent.
The United States Attorney’s Office at the Central District of California had ordered the FBI to arrest Kyari but the IGP and the Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN) evasively continued to shield Kyari till this moment.
Many Nigerians have since called for the sacking of the suspended erstwhile IRT boss while they also urged the Federal Government not to allow the NDLEA case affect the extradition of Kyari to the United States and his prosecution in the Hushpuppi saga.