IF not for the recent operation carried out by the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, Nigerians would not have known that the police authorities had kept the otherwise suspended Deputy Commissioner of Police, DCP, and Commander of the Inspector General of Police’s Intelligence Response Team, IRT, Abba Kyari, on active duty despite announcing his suspension.
In August last year, the Nigeria Police Commission suspended Kyari after he was indicted in the US for alleged money laundering in league with Instagram celebrity, Ramon Abbas, alias Hushpuppi.
In November 2021, Police spokesman, Frank Mba, responded to media speculations of Kyari’s “reinstatement” by reaffirming that he was still under suspension.
The NDLEA’s sting operation showed that Kyari remained in charge of the IRT while on “suspension”.
The police authorities must explain the rationale of their action to Nigerians.
The NDLEA’s decisive action goes against the grain of the “sacred cow” syndrome in Nigeria.
Law enforcement in Nigeria is very weak because highly-connected individuals trample on our laws and due processes and get away with it.
Impunity, which is a residue of our military era, continues to weaken our civic processes and public institutions. It hampers their ability to deliver on their constitutional mandates.
It also shows that if the people appointed by President Muhammadu Buhari to man our strategic military, police, security, law enforcement, anti-corruption and regulatory agencies had been acting with similar resolute patriotism no matter whose ox was gored, the President’s agenda to fight corruption would have made far-reaching impacts.
This method of catching culprits red-handed, if routinely deployed on other officials in similar positions, it could show that many more law enforcement officers are actually leveraging on their privileged positions to perpetrate same crimes.
The coming of retired Brigadier-General Mohammed Buba Marwa to the NDLEA as its Chairman in January 2021 and the subsequent launch of the War Against Drug Abuse, WADA, have invigorated the moribund NDLEA.
Within 12 months, it has made 12,306 arrests, secured 1,367, recorded drug seizures amounting to 2.4 million kilogrammes, ensured the recovery of N130 billion and the treatment and counselling of 8,000 drug addicts.
Good governance is not about a president or governor waving the proverbial “magic wand” to get things done.
It is more about putting the right persons in all the elective and appointive positions, reforming and properly funding the operational environment for better service delivery, performing duties without fear, favour or ill-will and rewarding achievement.
Marwa’s NDLEA must, however, remain focused and not be carried away by the plaudits for its exemplary performance in the past year.
It must learn from Abba Kyari who once got a standing ovation at the House of Representatives.