Pelumi Olajengbesi, a prominent member of the legal team of Yoruba Nation agitator, Sunday Adeyemo, aka Sunday Igboho, has said the investigation into the fraud allegations against the Deputy Commissioner of Police, Abba Kyari should be open and transparent.
The legal practitioner, in a statement issued to SaharaReporters on Sunday, said journalists must also been given full access to the proceedings for the sake of posterity.
“It is therefore a demand in the interest of justice that the conduct of the investigations be transparent and open, with full press access. The Nigeria Police Force should know that Nigerians are struggling to trust the process and in view of this, the Press must be allowed unfettered access to its proceedings for record and posterity sake, too,” he said.
The Police Service Commission had suspended the embattled police chief, Kyari, with the suspension to take effect from Saturday, July 31.
According to the spokesperson for the commission, Ikechukwu Ani, the suspension will “subsist pending the outcome of the investigation in respect of his indictment by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) of the United States”.
Kyari’s suspension followed a recommendation by the Inspector-General of Police, IGP, Usman Alkali Baba, that the embattled police chief should be suspended immediately from the police force pending investigation into fraud allegations against him.
The IGP, in his letter to the Police Service Commission, dated 31st July, 2021, noted that the recommendation for the suspension of the officer, is in line with the internal disciplinary processes of the Force.
The United States Attorney’s Office, Central District of California, had issued an arrest warrant against Kyari for his alleged links to the suspected fraudster, Ramon Olorunwa Abbas, alias Hushpuppi, who is standing trial for various offences that include internet fraud and money laundering.
Hushpuppi has since pleaded guilty to the charges and, if convicted, risks a 20-year-jail term, three-year supervision upon completion of jail term, and monetary restitution to the tune of $500,000 or more.
A Special Investigation Panel (SIP), comprising four senior police officers, headed by Deputy Inspector General of Police Joseph Egbunike, will investigate the allegations against Kyari.
Olajengbensi, therefore, commended the Police Inspector-General, Bala, for “recommending the immediate suspension of DCP Abba Kyari and the immediate confirmation of same by the Police Service Commission pending the determination of his guilt or innocence”.
He continued, “Indeed, it is rather uncommon in our experience as a people to find such spine and resolve in our hero-worship climate where a few persons are revered above the law and due process. IGP Usman Bala has demonstrated appreciable commitment to the resolution of this matter in the interest of truth and justice and must now see that he stands steadfast to this path even in the face of expected pressure to do otherwise.
“DCP Abba Kyari who had hitherto assumed a rather amused and dismissive approach to the serious allegations against his person and office, must take good advantage to clear his name by making himself available for the investigations to allow the Nigeria Police Force to run a fine comb through the allegations brought forward against his person before the SIP led by Deputy Inspector-General Joseph Egbunike.
“The Special Investigation Panel (SIP) must undertake the task before them with a sense of duty and loyalty only to the truth. It must rid itself of bias considerations for, favourable or unfavourable disposition to DCP Kyari while equally availing him ample opportunity to make representation of his defence against the allegations against him.
“The very image of the Nigeria Police Force, particularly its ethos and claims to be corruption-free is being examined by the watchful public at national and international levels. IGP Usman Alkali Bala thus have an uphill task to dutifully acquit itself in this matter and in doing so, help save the reputation of the Nigeria Police Force.”
SaharaReporters, New York