Opinion

Super Cop, Super Fall

Hope O’Rukevbe Eghagha

It was not with any form of exultation or ululation that patriots read about the fall of DCP Abba Kyari from national grace to international disgrace. Perhaps his ‘enemies’ celebrated this national tragedy, this man brought down by greed and hubris in a dramatic manner. What was befuddling was how and why he complicated his already tainted picture with the drug escapade in a most messy manner. How and why did he fall into such a trap, being recorded inside a car negotiating a rotten deal? Was it a last-ditch attempt to hit it big and quit the stage into private life where he would swim ad infinitum in the wealth accumulated from service to the morality of the underworld? Was it a feeling of invincibility accumulated over the decades of dubious public service, not being found out, not being caught, fully protected by the powers-that-be?

It is not a good story. Yet it happened. And it could happen again. Who knows how many super-cops are out there in the dark, murky rooms of the Nigeria Police or other security agencies, extorting citizens, killing at random to bury all traces of their callous deeds? For as we know, too many people have lost their lives to extra-judicial killings in the land. These are men and women who have no voice. No power. No money. All they have is fear. Fear of the police. Fear for their lives. If the anti-SARS movement had succeeded in drawing the attention of government to the impunity, self-serving actions of some men of the Nigeria Police, would this slap-in-face have come to the open?  

A man who is licensed to carry a gun and who turns himself into an accuser, a judge and jury is danger to the community. The ‘I-will-kill-you-and-nothing-will-come-of-it’ mentality of the power-drunk cop is a nightmare to our youth who go about their daily lives. Sadly, they are here as they are in America. Especially in their relationship with the under-privileged, the minorities. Especially when dealing with boys and men who seem to drive a good car. Especially with the weak and beggarly. Achebe once wrote about a security official who told a citizen whom he is paid to protect: if I kill you, I kill dog! The target of this verbal assault ruminated over the vituperation. Saw the power dynamic. Philosophized over it. Am I a dog? In the end, as the rogue security officer took leave of the scene, the victim of that assault still had the courtesy to say ‘go well! Turning the other cheek? How do you tell a state official to ‘go well’ after he had dehumanized you because of the state uniform that gave him power to assault your person and your psyche?

Apparently, Abba Kyari was made of such stuff. The power to dehumanize while carrying out both legitimate and illegitimate actions on behalf of us all. To be sure, the legitimate duties will not bring the stupendous wealth that he is reputed to have. Abba Kyari seems to love the good life. Swinging with the big boys. Giving them protection. Intercepting hard drugs. Seizing them and replacing them with dummies. Re-selling the seized stuff to the society. What cover supersedes that of a law enforcer who in the cover of the dark breaks the law? Who polices the police? A nation that has no police becomes a lawless nation. A policeman who is not policed by his conscience or by the institution he serves becomes a lawless officer. Of such officers we must beware. How many Abba Kyaris are still out there?

The intelligence services must have picked up stories about Abba Kyari. But he was too big a fish to be caught. Perhaps. Until now. I can even hazard a guess that one or two senior persons may have advised him to cool off. But a man who was appointed by the executive arm of government, once celebrated as a super cop by the Legislative Arm of government would naturally feel fully protected by the high and the mighty!  

The hard drug dimension is a hard swallow. For this, we weep for the country, for Abba Kyari. Wherever he is, he would be asking how come he went this low? There is no armour against that which was fated to happen to a man after that man had destroyed lives and the institutions he was meant to protect. It is not a good story. Bad for him. Bad for the nation. Good for the image of NDLEA under retired Brigadier-General Marwa!

To shield Super Cop Abba Kyari will be the final death of the Nigeria Police. He and one of his accomplices known as ‘Too much money’ should have their day in court. Of course, they are innocent until proven guilty. To us laymen the video of that drug-deal negotiation puts ashes in the mouth. If it is indeed true, then we shall have witnessed the super fall of a super cop. The other super cops should learn lessons from The Rise and Fall of a Super Cop!   

Prof Eghagha is of the Department of English and Literary Studies, University of Lagos

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