yari is, without a doubt, the most romanticized police officer in modern Nigerian history. Despite the fact that the efficient officer’s endearment transcends the normal cleavages highlighted by Nigeria’s diverse tribes and tongues, it is not the first time the efficient cop has been accused of graft.
The panel of inquiry set up to investigate any breaches by members of the SARS received an intriguing petition in the aftermath of the agitations for the squad’s abolition in October of last year. Afeez Mojeed, a businessman, claimed in this appeal that in 2014, police officers led by Kyari extorted N14 million from him. Mojeed claimed that he was tortured for 14 days by the operators throughout his testimony, which he made quite a spectacle of. While the panel has not made a decision on the subject, it was a hint that Kyari’s service may not be as spotless as it had appeared previously.
Nigerians also need to be aware of the country’s power dynamics. Power is a weapon of oppression and monetary acquisition in Nigeria, while it is used to positively influence people’s lives in other countries. Regardless of how bad your own economy is, gaining power in Nigeria will alter everything. Nigerians in need of the purpose of your office will patronize you even if you are not seeking monetary gain. Unless you have true personal discipline, which the officer, Mr. Kyari lacks, you will soon start to wallow in the rut. This is something we will come back to later.
Kyari had become so strong and blatantly celebrated in recent years, according to reports, that it was to his detriment. While acclamations for skilled law enforcement agents are not uncommon any place in the globe, Kyari’s was taken on a banal tone. You would wonder if he was the only cop in Nigeria whose team was called in to investigate all kinds of crimes, no matter where they occurred! It is hard for such a man not to rise to power and gain all of the benefits that come with it.
Kyari’s proclivity to go just so far before succumbing to temptation is highlighted by two factors. The first is his seeming romance with the wealthy and their inclinations.
He left his duty post in Abuja a few weeks ago to attend the funeral of a hugely affluent showbiz personality’s mother. Despite the obscene show of wealth and unparalleled abuse of Nigerian legal tender that followed it, the event is still the talk of the town four weeks later. Kyari not only attended the ceremony, but he also snapped delighted photographs and concluded by praising the millionaire on his social media page as a hardworking and trustworthy ally!
These are the kinds of talks that should not be pronounced, let alone heard from a man whose job as a cop necessitates a certain level of morality and decorum, unless he is in some kind of covert operation. While the wealth of Kyari’s bereaved friend and the others with whom he associates is unquestionable, an officer of the law should keep a deliberate distance from individuals of such affluence, if only to keep his sanity and avoid the temptation to be and live like these friends. The inability to avoid associations like these would most certainly pique the interest of an unsuspecting police officer and lead to unanticipated temptations.
Unfortunately, the Nigerian Police Force does not even pay its officers a decent wage, so a greedy officer would have to quadruple his “hustle.” This government deludes itself by paying peanuts and expecting the best from law enforcement personnel (particularly operatives from the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, who are tasked with bringing criminals with enormous wealth to justice). Why Nigerian politicians, despite repeated warnings, fail to grasp this truth, remains a puzzle.
Rwandan President Paul Kagame related a story about his plane stopping to refuel in an undisclosed African country during a session organized by the EFCC in 2018. To pass the time while waiting for the exercise to begin, he said he went for a walk around the aeroplane, where he was approached by a police officer who, unaware of Kagame’s identity, came to beg for money.
“However, this has left an impression on me… I gave them the anecdote during a cabinet meeting. Since we have a mission to fight corruption, there are few things I noticed in this: a police officer on duty begging for small items. I informed them that it was possible that something similar was happening in our own country. That would imply that we are placing too many demands on these officers, that we are underpaying them, that they are penniless and must continue begging, and that they will eventually use that pistol… We do not have much, but we can share what we do have so that even the cops know they are being looked after…” The Rwandan President recalled the events while urging our government to pay law enforcement officers living wages.
He could just as well have been talking about the Nigerian police, who are plagued with allegations of societal negligence. You will hear about how many Police units operate like small companies. Many Police stations lack a properly operating vehicle, and when they do, they are unable to purchase fuel due to a lack of funding. You will hear about how cops pay for their own gas and repairs, and how their living quarters, even for officers, are barely better than slums. How officers must cover their medical costs even when involved in incidents while on active duty. If you want to get training, you may have to pay for it. It is as if the Nigerian government delegated the upkeep of police formations to officers, with no standard operating procedure in place. As a result, everyone operates at his or her own risk. Staying on your lane and ensuring that connections that present temptations and hard situations, such as Kyari’s, do not go beyond the official call of duty is what a law officer should do if they wish to be faithful to their calling. The quickest methods for a law enforcement officer to bury a prosperous career alive are to become trend supporters and to visit persons whose wealth you cannot explain their source of income.
However, Nigeria forces this same scenario on everyone, creating an environment in which people are unable to operate. This is a tiered society in which the wealthy become wealthier and the poor become more impoverished. After all is said and done, the majority of Nigerians earn incomes that are barely enough to get them home. Nonetheless, public institutions that the impoverished may turn to, have been degraded. People spend their entire lives sending their children to pricey private schools so that they can have some form of an education, but what happens once they graduate? They spend years on end scouring the streets for work.
The people who have been hurt the hardest are the ones who are most responsible for keeping society secure, sound, and prepared for the future. So, discuss the teacher’s, doctor’s, police officer’s, journalist’s, and even judge’s situations. With politics and public office being the most lucrative endeavors in the country, everyone takes advantage of any opportunity to irritate the other or extort money from them.
Kyari’s illustrious career is taking a bad turn, which is regrettable. Despite the fact that he still has a chance to prove his innocence in what appears to be a strong prima facie case, he has fallen far below Nigeria’s expectations. Nigerians, on the other hand, will have to wait and see what happens.
While that is going on, the country’s leaders must see that an uncaring culture like this turns its citizens into money-hungry monsters. Nigeria is a place where money has become a god which is faithfully worshipped by all and sundry, and it citizenry will do anything to make money at all cost to be relevant in the society, from internet fraud to banditry, ritual killings, kidnappings, and whatever else they can think of. They should also understand that one person’s collapse will have no effect unless the country becomes more humanitarian.