A high-profile Nigerian police commander who was suspended last year has been arrested after investigators issued a wanted notice against him for alleged involvement in a drugs deal, police said.
National deputy police commissioner Abba Kyari was suspended after he was implicated by Nigerian influencer Ramon Abbas, known as Hushpuppi, who pleaded guilty to money laundering and other crimes in the United States.
Kyari, who became famous for exposing a string of high-profile crimes in Nigeria, denied the allegations against him.
On Monday, the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) declared Kyari wanted for complicity in a 25-kilogramme (55-pound) cocaine deal.
In a statement late Monday, the police said Kyari and four other officers had been arrested “for their involvement… in a case of illicit drug trafficking involving a perpetual transnational drug cartel.”
Police said “the arrest of the officers was sequel to pieces of information received from the leadership” of the NDLEA on February 10, 2022.
Some NDLEA officers were found to be “on the payroll” of the same cartel Kyari was working for, police added.
The NDLEA had accused Kyari of being “a member of a drug cartel that operates the Brazil-Ethiopia-Nigeria illicit drug pipeline”.
The agency said Kyari tried to compromise an NDLEA officer in January by asking him to conceal part of the cocaine haul that was seized from some suspects.
It said the senior cop was caught on camera handing over $61,400 (54,100 euros) in cash to compromise its operative.
“He needs to answer questions that crop up in an ongoing drug case in which he is the principal actor,” said Femi Babafemi, the NDLEA spokesman.
The suspended cop was invited for questioning on February 10 but did not show up or respond, according to the NDLEA.