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How Kyari sold 20kg cocaine confiscated by IRT – NDLEA

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THE National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) has explained how the suspended head of the Police Intelligence Response Team (IRT) Abba Kyari sold 20kg of cocaine confiscated from drug traffickers.

NDLEA spokesman Femi Babafemi disclosed at a press conference in Abuja on Monday that Kyari contacted one of the agency’s officers on January 21 to discuss a ‘drug deal’.

“His team had intercepted and arrested some traffickers that came into the country from Ethiopia with, according to him, 25kg of cocaine.


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“He (Kyari) proposed a drug deal whereby he and his team are to take 15kg of the cocaine and leave 10kg for the prosecution of the suspects arrested with the illicit drug in Enugu. In the meantime, the purloined cocaine will be replaced with a dummy worth 15kg. He asked the NDLEA officer to persuade men of the FCT Command to play along as well,” Babafemi said.

Babafemi added that the NDLEA management gave the go-ahead to its officer to ‘play along’ with Kyari, who is alleged to be a member of a drug cartel operating Brazil-Ethiopia-Nigeria illicit drug pipeline.

“At this point, Kyari disclosed that the 15kg (already taken out) was shared between the informants that provided information for the seizure and himself and his men of the IRT of the Nigerian Police.”

He further said that Kyari told the NDLEA officer that the informants were given 7kg while his team took 8kg, which was already sold.

“He (Kyari) then offered to pay the NDLEA team (that is the officer and the FCT commander) by selling, on their behalf, half of the remaining 10kg, thereby further reducing the original cocaine for the prosecution to just 5kg.

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According to the NDLEA, at N7 million per kilogram, the proceed from the 5kg would amount to N35 million, at the exchange rate of N570 per dollar, which was the black-market rate on January 24 when Kyari sold them.

He added that Kyari said he would deliver $61,400 to the NDLEA team from the proceeds of the confiscated illicit drug.

“He also brought with him the money from the sale of the 5kg share of the NDLEA team, a total of $61,400. Our officer, however, preferred to take the money inside his car. Well, the car was wired with sound and video recorders,” he said.

Babafemi added that the NDLEA invited Kyari to answer questions bordering on the investigation, but he did not honour it.

The NDLEA spokesperson noted that the delay in Kyari’s response was stalling the investigation of other suspects involved in the case who are now in the custody of the agency.

Videos and pictures of Kyari exchanging a parcel with a man inside a car were also shown by the NDLEA.

Kyari was suspended as the head of IRT in August 2021, and Tunji Disu was appointed to oversee the affairs of the police unit.

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However, it remains unclear how Kyari got access to the seized cocaine in January 2022, five months after his suspension.

During the press briefing by the NDLEA, references were also made to Kyari’s ‘team’; it also remains unclear if the suspended IRT boss still had a team.

When The ICIR contacted Babafemi to provide clarifications, he said the suspended IRT head “obviously had an illegal team”.

Kyari was allegedly bribed by Ramon Abass, also known as Hushpuppi, to have Chibuzo Vincent, one of his rivals, arrested and jailed in Nigeria following a dispute over a $1.1 million fraud against a Qatari businessperson.

Being a serving officer of the Nigeria Police Force at the time, Kyari was suspended, and an investigation was ordered into the allegations levelled against him by the Federal Bureau of Investigation in the US.

However, the internal investigation ordered by the Inspector General of Police (IGP) on allegations levelled against Kyari has not been concluded.

Last week, the Police Service Commission (PSC) ordered a new investigation into the allegations against Kyari.

Author profile

Lukman Abolade is an Investigative reporter with The ICIR. Reach out to him via labolade@icirnigeria.org, on twitter @AboladeLAA and FB @Correction94

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