THE drug trafficking saga involving disgraced top cop, Abba Kyari, further evolved on Wednesday, with details connecting him directly to barons in Brazil and Ethiopia. Ethiopia has become a major gateway to drug spread in Africa and the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) at a point mid-last year placed the country’s national carrier under surveillance for allegedly returning the highest number of caught drug couriers.
The agency released a new set of incriminating information yesterday, as questions were being asked about its officers indicted by the leadership of the Nigerian Police as collaborators in the drug deals. Femi Babafemi, the agency’s spokesperson, in a statement, promised blind justice for all involved in the drug trafficking saga, but very particular about the Kyari team connecting directly with the barons and couriers.
Police had alleged that NDLEA men at the Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu, on agreement and long association, created a safe passage for two named drug couriers before the police team later found out their accomplices and picked them up.
In what appears a disputation of Police’s claim, Babafemi said, “To correct some inaccuracies in the information in the public space that NDLEA officers at the Enugu airport were the ones who received from the cartel, details about the mule coming from Addis Ababa, the agency wishes to quote from the transcript of Abba Kyari’s recorded conversation with our undercover officer and a portion of ASP James Bawa’s statement to the police as documented in the police investigation report, a copy of which was made available to the agency, that it’s an established fact that it’s the Abba Kyari’s team that was contacted by the cartel and without doubt the records clearly show how their ring works.”
Dipping into hitherto redacted information, Babafemi who is the agency’s Director of Media and Advocacy, further disclosed, “Recall that after NDLEA requested for Kyari and others for interrogation. They were questioned by the police, after which they were handed over along with the report of their interrogation.
“According to the police investigation report, 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.
“He explained further that a pointer from IK, the Brazil-based informant met with him at about 1420hrs on January 19 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.”
A part of the taped conversations involving Kyari, was also released. NDLEA said, “In his own recorded conversation with our undercover officer, Kyari also said the following: ‘They are greedy, seriously greedy (referring to his informants). We tried to have them accept 40 per cent but they refused, except 50 per cent. 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 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.’”
Providing further munition to nail the disgraced cop, Babafemi’s statement also revealed, “responding to our 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 what could pass for buck-passing, he concluded by saying, “the above no doubt establishes who the cartel was relating with and their modus operandi. Again, this is to correct inaccuracies in some reports and assure that the agency will not deviate from evidence-based.”
Meanwhile, the chairman, NDLEA, Brigadier-General Buba Marwa (retd), on Wednesday said the war against illicit drugs and trafficking in Nigeria is yielding positive results.
Marwa said this in Abuja during a sensitization training on drugs prevention, treatment and care organized by the United Nations Office On Drugs and Crime (UNODC) for NLDEA personnel and journalists, the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reported.
He said the arrest of Abba Kyari is a clear message of the agency’s commitment to the fight against drug abuse. Marwa said that those given the responsibility to fight crime, including illicit drugs trade, must not be proponents of the crime.
He also said the fight against drug abuse is a serious business as he assured that the agency remains committed to ensuring a drug-free nation.
The UNODC country representative, Oliver Stolpe, said the drug use epidemic affects around 40 million Nigerians out of which around three million have drug use disorders.