What is in a name? The average human being (specifically, Nigerian in this case), provides an answer. Name provides the Nigerian the opportunity to shine, be persecuted, be catapulted or (to) encounter misfortune, all depending on his part of the country, which easily gives him out for his lot in the country. That is the reality in Nigeria.
Indeed, Nigerian names, either from the north or from the south, in most cases, instantly offer either steel protection or total destruction, depending on the traducer or enthusiast. In fact, in Nigeria, some names in particular circumstances are some sort of curse for the owners, so to speak, and salacious taste for the haters, mostly rabble-rousers privileged for the bandwagon even when their submissions are nothing but outright ignorance.
Two years ago, there was the other Abba Kyari whose main faults were that he was the chief aide of an old friend, Muhammadu Buhari, and that he (Kyari) executed powers conferred on him as Chief of Staff by Buhari, his boss. If President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari, is a recluse who delegated virtually his powers to a trusted Chief of Staff, was that a reason the man should be destroyed? The fact was that only his names were his misfortune. Unfortunately, that particular misfortune Abba Kyari was one of the early fatal victims of COVID-19. As a mark of their callousness, his critics were even gloating over the man’s death.
Still unfortunately, years after the death of the deceased Abba Kyari, the shocks and/or annoyance against government decisions have neither stopped nor diminished. Could the late Abba Kyari have continued his supposed provocations from his grave?
Then came another Abba Kyari, again from the same part of the country and, expectedly, ready-made for denial of one of his basic human rights to which he is entitled anywhere in the world. Accused by America’s Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), there is no doubt that the suspect, a Nigerian deputy commissioner of police, call him the latest Abba Kyari, till now, has a yeoman’s job to clear himself. To be indicted by America’s FBI? You may as well give up all hope of innocence or total acquittal. But then, the same FBI is never in a hurry. Months or even years are never too long for FBI to nab a suspect. Only not too recent, the chief executive of a very thriving and fast-expanding local/international Nigerian airline was publicly listed by the same FBI for alleged money laundering in the United States. Even now, investigations can safely be presumed to be still on-going or the suspect must wait for his turn to be extradited to the United States.
The word is PROCEDURE. Whether the airline chief executive is guilty or not is not the issue. But the airline boss is not facing mob demand to be bundled into an aeroplane for delivery to FBI to face prosecution. Such patience over the matter of the suspect, the Nigerian airline chief executive, is not untenable. In fact, all over the world, it is either most ideal or the standard. Hence, the leadership of Nigeria Police Force was most appropriate in setting up a probe into every aspect of all the allegations against Abba Kyari. Nigerian agitators even seem to have forgotten that, so far, the man is facing allegations yet to be confirmed by his own security agency, the report of which will go a long way to shape the future comportment of the entire police personnel in the discharge of their onerous professional duties.
If found not guilty by Nigeria Police, the suspended police deputy commissioner will be entitled to his rights under Nigerian Constitution and if all the allegations against him are confirmed, it will be “FBI, here he comes.”
None of these two possibilities is, in any way an alternative to essential procedure in criminal matters, the standard of which is that all allegations must be investigated and proved beyond reasonable doubt. It is no favour but a right for anybody involved. And anybody suspecting some special favour for Abba Kyari, Nigerians should wait for our police to dare the FBI. Indeed, Nigeria Police would be risking too much with undue delay into the truth or otherwise of the serious allegations of compromise by Abba Kyari in the performance of his duties. Otherwise, investigating such allegations is normal in the process of pursuing truth.
What is more, a similar exercise is going on in the United Kingdom. A top member of the royal family, the Queen’s second child, Prince Andrew, is under investigation into alleged sex crimes said to have been committed many years ago in the United States. Consequently, the FBI demanded the extradition of Prince Andrew, who has, like Abba Kyari, since been denying the allegation. Prince Andrew’s co-accused, American financier, Jeffery Eipstein, allegedly committed suicide in 2019 while in detention for the sex crimes. Prince Andrew resisted extradition on grounds of mere allegation, but he is now being investigated by British police to establish a case for his extradition. As to be expected, he has given up all official duties.
As an alleged co-sex criminal suspect against underage girls, Prince Andrew is being investigated in the same line with Abba Kyari being probed for compromising his office. Whether Prince Andrew committed the alleged offence or not, he is initially being probed. The outcome of the probe should interest the Nigerian public.
Virtually all extradition requests all over the world for whatever alleged offence(s) are always resisted by suspects and many times rejected by host countries, especially where alleged charges are tainted with political motives. There was the case of Julian Assange, head of Wikileaks, an Australian, whose request for extradition to Sweden was rejected by Britain, the host country, on the excuse that, if extradited, Assange might be further extradited to the United States, where he might be tried for alleged treason. The extradition battle has been on for years and Assange is still in jail in Britain. Early this year, American Judge Vanessa Barraniser, ruled against America’s extradition request.
Even Nigerian nationalist Tony Enahoro not only though unsuccessfuly resisted Nigeria’s request for his extradition from Britain but also brought down the ruling Tory government in the process.
Critics should also be careful not to be unduly touchy about every aspect of Abba Kyari’s matter, lest the man inadvertently acquire public sympathy. Last time, when a former chief justice of the federation was removed from office on charges of corruption, governors from his zone not only came out that the man was being persecuted but also that the former justice must refuse to appear in court. Virtually nobody condemned the state governors. The former justice saved the day by voluntarily resigning into sudden retirement.
This time, following the prospects of extraditing DCP Kyari, about 30 prominent northern lawyers indicated mounting legal resistance against his proposed extradition. Critics from the other side embarked on critical nuances and implications.
DCP Kyari should be allowed to benefit anything that goes for his rights, including support of 30 northern lawyers, who, unfortunately, might be creating the impression that Abba Kyari’s present problem is because is a northerner. That is why his lawyer-sympathisers should be allowed to feel free to defend him. Let it not go on record that the man was in any way hindered from enjoying the right to legal defence.
Here is a prediction: DCP Abba Kyari will eventually be extradited and if he is not to be extradited, so be it, as long as whatever final decision is the outcome of thorough and very thorough probe of all the allegations against him.
Pity Plateau residents
Whatever the provocation, sympathy should still go to the defenceless people of Plateau State. Including their governor, Simon Lalong. In the past three weeks, scores, indeed scores, of innocent and defenceless people of the state have been massacred. And if the past is anything to go by, the massacre will continue. The last massacre was about two days ago at the back of University of Jos. How many were killed? Everybody did his best in the past to pre-empt or at least minimise the killings in northern parts. Sultan Sa’ad Abubakar III, ACF, most governors from both sides of the Niger, speakers of northern houses of assembly, Northern Elders Forum, etc. The concern was nationwide. Only one man, the court jester of our time, had a separate view, as it turned out, at the expense of the people whose very existence he was elected to secure. Otherwise, how could any reasonable person consider killings of our fellow citizens, especially in the North as a planned subversion of President Muhammadu Buhari?