The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), has said that it has no reason to shield anyone who may be indicted in the course of the ongoing investigation of a 25kg cocaine deal involving a gang headed by DCP Abba Kyari.
In a statement on Wednesday, the NDLEA debunked claims suggesting that the drug mules involved in the case contacted its officers.
The agency’s spokesman, Femi Babafemi, asserted that on the contrary, the traffickers, who were apprehended at the airport in Enugu, were in touch with the police team led by Kyari. Mr Babafemi assured that the NDLEA remains committed to the evidence-based investigation and its resolve cannot be weakened by any misrepresentation of facts.
These comments come two days after the suspended Deputy Commissioner of Police and former Head of the IRT, was declared wanted and arrested alongside four members of his team over alleged links with drug trafficking.
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Speaking on the arrest, spokesman for the Nigeria Police Force (NPF), CSP Olumuyiwa Adejobi, said an interim investigation revealed that the two international drug couriers who were arrested at Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu, had strong ties with some officers of the NDLEA.
According to CSP Adejobi, the narcotics agency had officers in Enugu who were on the drug cartel’s payroll. He further disclosed that the two arrested couriers confirmed that the modus was for the transnational drug barons to conspire with the NDLEA officers on duty and send them their pre-boarding photographs for identification, seamless clearance, and unhindered passage out of the airport with the narcotics being trafficked.
The suspects also confirmed that they have been enjoying this relationship with the NDLEA officers at the Enugu Airport since 2021 and had in this instant case of 19th January 2022, been identified and cleared by the NDLEA officers as customary, having received their pre-departure photographs and other details prior to their arrival in Enugu.
They were on their way out with the narcotics when they were apprehended by the police. Reacting to these claims, the NDLEA in its recent communique quoted from the transcript of Abba Kyari’s recorded conversation with an undercover officer and a portion of ASP James Bawa’s statement, another officer who was arrested in connection with the deal.
NDLEA spokesman, Femi Babafemi explained that, according to the police investigation report, ASP James Bawa in his statement to the police revealed that “he was called by an informant identified as IK from Brazil who told him that a drug courier will be arriving on board Ethiopian Airlines in Enugu”.
Bawa in his confession further explained that “a pointer from IK, the Brazil-based informant met with him at about 1420hrs on 19th January 2022 outside the airport and showed him a picture of the courier. Subsequently, they sighted the suspect as he exited the airport terminal after all arrival clearance formalities, and he was arrested with another associate”.
The NDLEA also disclosed that in his own recorded conversation with an undercover officer, Abba Kyari said, “they are greedy, seriously greedy (referring to his informants), we tried to have them accept 40% but they refused, except 50%; they know the rudiment of the deal very well; they are the ones that do the packing. From Brazil, one of the informants accompanied it to Ethiopia. You understand; one of the informants accompanied the goods to Ethiopia, one of the informants that give us information. He is the boy of the big baron.
“Addis, from Addis it will be given to those to proceed further with it, he will get their snapshots without their knowledge. Yes, he will reveal those that are conveying it further, get snapshots of theirs without their knowledge and send them to us (Abba Kyari’s team). So we already know the goods, picture and the clothes they are wearing, hope you understand, we know your name, he will give us everything. So, automatically my team will just be waiting, they will just see you and arrest you.”
Responding to the NDLEA officer’s question on whether his boys are usually stationed inside or outside the airport, Abba Kyari said, “Yes, yes, some are outside while some are inside. They will just allow you to finish arrival formalities and arrest you the moment you come out.”
In his summation, Mr Babafemi asserted that the confession from Kyari and his colleague leaves no doubt and emphatically establishes who the cartel was relating with and their modus operandi. The NDLEA spokesman assured that the agency will not deviate from an evidence-based investigation that will spare nobody found complicit.