Crime & Justice

NDLEA to police: Drug cartel was working with DCP Kyari’s men — not our officers

Ayodele Oluwafemi

The National Drug Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) says it will not spare anyone found complicit in the 25kg cocaine deal allegedly involving Abba Kyari, suspended deputy commissioner of police.

On Monday, the anti-drug agency, in a press briefing, declared Kyari wanted over alleged links with an international drug cartel.

Femi Babalola, spokesperson of the NDLEA, narrated how Kyari and the Intelligence Response Team (IRT) arrested some drug traffickers who arrived in the country from Ethiopia with 25kg of cocaine.

Babafemi alleged that Kyari and his team proposed to take 15kg of the seized cocaine for themselves.


Reacting to the allegation, the police, in a statement, said they arrested Kyari and four officers for “tampering with narcotic exhibits and unprofessional infractions”.

The police said investigation revealed that the international drug cartel involved in the case has “strong ties” with some NDLEA officers at Enugu Airport and asked the anti-drug agency to investigate its officers.

In what appears to be a response to the police, the NDLEA, in a statement on Wednesday, said the agency remains committed to evidence-based investigation and it will not be deterred by “any misrepresentation of facts”.


“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 statement reads.

“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, to state 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.

“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 reveals 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 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 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 an evidence-based investigation that will spare nobody found complicit.”

The development comes some months after the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) indicted Kyari of conspiring with Hushpuppi, self-confessed international fraudster, in a $1.1 million scam.


The suspended police officer had denied the allegation, claiming that his “hands are clean”.

This story is published in partnership with Report for the World, a global service program that supports local public interest journalism.
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