Abba Kyari, 43-year-old Assistant Commissioner of Police led the team of crack dectetives that arrested the famous and Billionaire kidnap kingpin, Chukwudumeme Onwuamadike aka “Evans in Lagos last year. In this interview with Integrity Reporters, Kyari, who is also the head of the Nigerian Police’s Intelligence Response Team (IRT) narrated the wonderful job his team did arresting Evans, his life as a policeman and others.
Many people had expected that by now, you would have been decorated by police authorities following the arrest of Evans. Are you in any way demoralized?
No. I am not demoralised at all. As you are aware, the promotion has been approved by the Police Service Commission but I understand there are some names that were not supposed to be on the list. So that is the reason for the delay. The promotion was because of the arrest of Evans, the most notorious kidnapper in Nigeria. I wish to state here that after Evans was arrested, the Inspector-General of Police directed that all the teams that were involved in the task be promoted to the next rank.
So it is on the basis of that that my name and those of my team members were forwarded by the Inspector-General to the Police Service Commission. The promotion is still in the pipe line. Very soon they are going to release the promotion and we are going to be decorated. So my boys and I are not demoralised in any way. We know that very soon, we are going to wear our new ranks.
After the arrest of Evans, some people alleged that certain things were removed from his house. Could you please respond to this allegation?
The allegation that people stole from Evans’ house was invented by Evans’ lawyers. I think the lawyers were looking for something to hold. I wish to state again that everything we recovered from Evan’s house was registered as exhibits. It is part of the Nigerian law. Anybody that is involved in armed robbery or kidnapping, all the properties that he has is seized because the crime he committed is more than petty stealing or 419. It is a case of multiple armed robberies and kidnapping, so all his properties will be seized and tendered as exhibits, according to Arm Robbery and Fire Arms Act.
If we were corrupt officers, we would have collected the offer of $2 million cash, which he promised us to be paid within 48 hours. But we said no, keep your money. The lawyer just wants to distract people. He is just reminding the world of all the billions his client acquired through robbery and kidnapping.
What would you say about IG’s commendation that has earned you all these promotions?
Our promotion is based on gallantry and outstanding performance and the record of all we have done is there for everybody to see. What we have done is not hidden. Anybody who has done similar thing but was not promoted should come forward because the IG encourages hard work. That is what he did when we arrested Born-fire in Imo State. He promoted all my boys but I was not promoted because I was not due for promotion then.
By the time we arrested Evans, I had already exceeded the time the law stipulated for promotion. The promotion is purely for the team that arrested Evans. If not because of the arrest, I may not have been promoted again. Tomorrow, I may be promoted to DC if we are able to arrest Abubakar Shekau, the Boko Haram leader. The arrest of Shekau is also a very big achievement that will attract promotion for the team that arrests him.
You will agree with me that motivation goes a long way in making people work harder. The IG has set precedence for outstanding performance. So anyone who performs well would be rewarded and that is what he is doing.
Do you agree with those who think that security lapse is the major reason Abubakar Shekau is still moving freely?
Well, I cannot comment on that, this is up to the military and they are the ones who would answer that question.
With your experience, what could be done to eradicate cultism, arm robbery, kidnapping and other violent crimes in this country?
Well, kidnapping has been a serious issue in this country notwithstanding the fact that my team and the Nigeria Police Force have done well in fighting the crime. I know that hundreds of armed robbers and kidnappers have been arrested within the country but there is still more work to be done.
Actually the government is trying but I think there should be more funding, equipment and personnel. There are so many other things that we need which I believe our IGP will soon present to the higher authorities for approval. If we can get those things that we need, I believe we can do a lot better.
The Inspector-General said recently that the police need N1.3 trillion is needed to curb the menace of kidnapping, how true is that?
Well, I am not aware of that statement but what I know is that there are things that are needed actually, funding and equipment are most critical.
Are you not afraid that you may be attacked by armed robbers?
When we took this job, we took it knowing fully well the consequences that may follow. So we are ready for those consequences. So the fact that people may want to attack us will not stop us from going after criminals. We have to do our job. There is no absolute safety anywhere. After all, some people would be sitting in their houses and it will fall and kill them. So I do not need to be afraid of attack because anything can happen even when you are in your house.
You know in this country we are facing so many problems, so if everybody would sit up and do his job the way it is supposed to be done, things would improve. So I believe that whatever is worth doing is worth doing well. I believe in going out there to make sure that those people that terrorise everybody are brought to book as this would serve as deterrent to others. It would stop others that may want to join crime.
It would interest you to know that over this kidnapping issue, we went to Colombia and we saw how they turned around their country. Colombia is one the countries that is at the fore front when it comes to kidnapping. We have seen how they were able to tackle theirs. Some years ago, they were recording over 4000 kidnap cases annually but they were able to reverse it. But things have significantly improved there. Nigeria too can do it but we have to get the resources to acquire those things that we do not have.
We know that the country is having some financial issues, the money is not flowing as before but I am sure the president would do something.
As a family man, has your wife ever asked you to resign and take another job?
Sure. The pressure to quit was more at the initial stage. She was actually concerned because of the kind of criminals that we were arresting. So she had this feeling that it was going to be dangerous but latter she got used to it but she insists I try as much as possible to avoid some places.
How do you relax?
Abba kyari is a 43 year old Assistant Commissioner of Police. I am from the North Eastern part of the country. I grew up in Maiduguri. I attended the University of Maiduguri for my university education. After the National Youth Service Corps scheme, I joined the police. I like socialising with people and I also like travelling although I have not had time to travel for some years now but I like travelling and meeting people. On weekends, I like going out to visit friends. And once in a while, I can even go to club and relax with my friends.
Super Cop Extraordinaire
On June 11, 2017 when the notorious kidnapper, Evans was nabbed, Abba Kyari, the celebrated police officer behind the triumph became an instant star and folk hero. For most Nigerians, this gallant officer did for the Nigeria Police, what a billion naira public relations stunt could not have done. No doubt, the arrest and the subsequent detention of Evans brought indescribable positive image to the police, an organisation many Nigerians just love to hate.
For many months, Kyari’s fame resonated across Nigeria and many saw the development as a new dawn for law enforcement in Nigeria. The development, quite naturally, also sent a warning signal to those who profit from crime. In fact, the super cop and his team by their action, sent quit notice to criminals and shattered the invisibility that surrounds their operations.
This brave cop and Assistant Commissioner of Police is undoubtedly, every criminal’s nightmare. But Kyari is not new to high risks and tough policing. He had headed the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, SARS at the Lagos State Police Command before he was promoted ACP in 2016 and asked to head the Inspector General of Police intelligence Response Team, IRT.
Among his peers, he stands tall and represents hard work, diligence, bravery and hope. Aside Evans which is his most celebrated exploit in recent times, the fearless police officer is also directly connected with the capture of notorious criminals like Abiodun Ogunjobi, also known as Godogodo, China, Nnamdi, Yemi Boss, Abdullahi, Victor and Vampire.
In a country like Nigeria, Kyari is an absolute necessity. For instance, Godogodo, a hardened criminal he arrested confessed to having killed 200 persons and over 50 police men. He also admitted that he personally collected the riffles of the dead police men.
Kyari, a Kanuri and one of the most decorated officers attended the University of Maiduguri before joining the Nigeria Police. He speaks on his life and career in the force.