It is difficult to imagine what must be going on in the mind of the super cop, Abba Kyari, this very moment. Among his peers and even Nigerians in general, he is perceived as a police officer in a class of his own. He is known to have burst some of the most difficult crime cases for which he was rewarded with glowing commendations and honours. At a point, he became the poster boy of the Police, a representation of what a dutiful policeman ought to be. But the truth is, like the proverbial Greek gods, the Abba Kyaris of this world, indeed, do have feet of clay.
That truism is beginning to manifest as the can of worms are opened in faraway United States of America. From nowhere, for him, the bubble has just burst and he finds himself at the base of ignominy with the end of what ought to have been an illustrious career staring him in the face. He has himself, only, to blame. No one should weep for him.
The problem with most policemen and women often is not knowing when to say no, thank you. For some, it has to do with the feeling of untouchability, the tendency to get carried away by the powers and influence they wield dressed in their uniform, the recourse to condemnable impunity that see them pretending to be above the law. It has also to do with a deadening of conscience.
This newspaper refuses to accept the whimsical explanation that the beggarly disposition of the average policeman is as a result of the inadequacy of the Force’s welfare structure. It goes beyond that and is traceable to a wilful inclination to do wrong in the mistaken belief that the uniform keeps them safe and away from the long arm of justice.
There are reported cases of crass impunity in the excessive application of force in routine police duties that in some cases lead to death. Furthermore, it is common knowledge that crime and criminality thrive because security operatives turn a blind eye and actually connive and collude with the perpetrators for pecuniary gains. It is also common knowledge that the rich and privileged members of society get away with murder because the security agents pander to their inanities for material gains. How else can anyone explain the protection known enemies of society receive from the police in the guise of being Very Important Personalities (VIPs). What makes them VIPs, in most cases, is that they have money to throw around.
This situation, in our considered opinion, is made worse by the disposition of the high command which has cultured itself into an inexcusable propensity of serial cover-ups that see no evil in the misdemeanor of their subordinates all in the name of protecting the image of the Force. Superior officers fail to ask questions when those under their commands live ostentatious lifestyles that are way beyond their legitimate earnings and carouse with questionable elements in the society.
Most Nigerians had thought that the sludge that Deputy Superintendent of Police, George Iyamu, splashed on the Police in his dealings with Lawrence Anini in the old Bendel State in the 1980s would have sent appropriate signals on the need to apply measures to check or, at least, monitor the excesses of the rank and file. That this is not happening is because the rot permeates the entire gamut of the establishment. The fish, it is said, starts to rot from the head. The moral rectitude required to instil appropriate disciplinary measures are lacking due to the fact that corruption in the Force is an all-comers’ game.
If the foot soldiers must bribe to influence beat postings with demands and expectations of making returns to the bosses, from where comes the courage to instil the required checks as far as the ethical codes are concerned? We observe with regret that the country is gripped vice-like by the impudence of criminals who go by the tag kidnappers and bandits. It is alleged that the shame persists because those put in charge of curbing the lawlessness are actually benefitting from it. The top hierarchy knows what is going on but are too enmeshed in the filth to have the proclivity to act in the right direction.
When this same Abba Kyari was reported to be at Oba Cubana’s show of shame in Anambra state recently, winning and dining with those whose source of wealth is questionable, it becomes easy, in our opinion, to believe the allegations of Abbass Ramon notoriously known as Hushpuppi.
In our considered view, Kyari’s link with criminals may not have started with Ramon. If he had not been caught, the-about-to-be disgraced officer would still be strutting the stage like a peacock and the pearl of the pack. He is not the only one. And that is why we urge the Police establishment to use this opportunity to cleanse the stable. It is obvious that there are many Abba Kyaris still puffing within the Force. They must be identified and shown the way out.