…And Lagos’ Loss Becomes Abuja’s Gain
The name Abba Kyari has become a household name in Nigeria, especially in Lagos State. Kyari was the Superintendent of Police in charge of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, Ikeja, Lagos State for close to five years.
The name, however, means different things to different people. The name is a pride to personnel of the Nigeria Police Force. It is a name that connotes gallantry, safety and reliability to the Lagos State Government.
But it is also a name that sends shivers into the hearts of suspected, wanted and fleeing armed robbers. Sadly, however, Kyari has been transferred out of Lagos State.
Residents in Lagos State, especially those who know the price of security, weren’t too happy about it. But like the Boys’ Scout Motto, a policeman must always be prepared for transfer at any time. It is part of the trimmings that go with the job.
On July 1, 2015, Kyari resumed at his new office at Force Headquarters, Abuja.
He was moved to Abuja after waging a series of wars on armed robbers in Lagos. In the war, he lost some of his men. Several times, he almost got a bullet himself, but mother luck always seems to favour him. He had been known to cry whenever any of his men dies in any circumstance, but especially in gun duels with armed robbers.
He left for Abuja with many trophies, but without the much coveted promotion he yearned and prayed for. Since Kyari took over the mantle of leadership in Ikeja, Lagos Command of SARS, he had spearheaded the pursuit and capture of many suspected armed robbers and kidnappers.
Indeed, there had been days when he had received threatening calls from armed robbers. But rather than wilt in fear, he had simply laughed at the bandits’ temerity and mapped new strategy to catch the robbers.
He and his men had been heard to say: “There’s a war going on between armed robbers and the police. It’s a war the police must win!” Under his leadership, many residents of Lagos State started sleeping with their two eyes closed.
The brilliance and vigilance of Kyari in hunting and tracking down armed robbers, often leading to arrests, endeared him to many political leaders, especially the former governor of Lagos State, Raji Fashola, who gave him many awards for gallantry. He seemed to have a flair for catching the most hard to catch armed robbers.
When he was asked if he uses voodoo in his job, he laughed and said: “Haba! No! We only deploy technology in going after these robbers.” On the surface, he looks like he couldn’t harm a fly, but to armed robbers; he’s one of the most feared men in Nigeria. But surprisingly, his men are always willing to fight by his side.
There’s camaraderie between him and his men that had often led to a good synergy. This synergy is said to be the bedrock of SARS Ikeja success stories. Some of his men spoke glowingly of him. They said he would be sorely missed. One of the policemen, who simply identified himself as Kingsley, said: “Kyari is a diligent and dedicated officer whom everybody would like to work with. I’ve known him for close to three years now. It was God who elevated him due to his dedication and commitment. I can tell you categorically that at SARS Lagos State Command, we don’t see him as our superior; we look at him like our brother because he accommodated every officer he comes across in the line of duty. He sees every officer as his brother and sister. He takes time to listen to any complaint brought before him; either good or bad case. He’s a good officer to work with.” Muhammad Aminu, an Inspector of Police, who said he joined Lagos SARS in 2014, said it had been educating for him working with Kyari. “What endeared me to Kyari is his simplicity and attitude towards those of us who are his junior in rank,” said Aminu. “Ever since I started working with him, I’ve never seen him complaining about his job or show any incompetency. He has what it takes to be a leader. He is an officer and a gentleman to the core. I’ve worked with other senior police officers, but what I saw in Kyari is different from where I came from. Kyari is a team leader who listens to whoever comes to him. He doesn’t discriminate.”
According to Aminu, he began to hero worship Kyari after he discovered the ingenuity and cleverness he deployed in hunting and arresting the kidnappers who abducted the mother of the former Minister of Finance, Dr. Mrs. Ngozi Okonjo Iweala in Delta State. Aminu said: “Every officer under him have learnt one detective strategy or another. He has a myriad of strategies he uses in trailing kidnappers. Another high profile robbery incident I wouldn’t forget in a hurry and which residents of Lagos will also not forget in a hurry was the broad day-light robbery at the Muritala Muhammed International Airport, Ikeja, on March 13, 2013.
Two policemen and one of the armed robbers were killed on that day. The robbers carted away millions of local and foreign currency. But Kyari finally got them!” Another officer who spoke on the condition of anonymity described Kyari as a “God sent officer to the Lagos State Police Command.” The policeman noted that Kyari treated everybody as equals; whether uniformed personnel or civilians. He said: “Kyari never showed any sentiment when dealing with anyone. One of the most interesting aspects of him was when he assigned any one of us to carry out an operation. If the policeman did the assignment well, he wouldn’t hesitate to make such a person a team leader. Kyari is a leader who teaches junior officers what it takes to be a good officer and an investigator!”
Asked how he felt about Kyari’s transfer, the man said: “I don’t feel bad. It’s a normal thing in the police to transfer anybody to any part of the country. This is part of what we signed for as police personnel.”
Biodata: Kyari was born on March 17, 1975. He is a native of Gujba Local Government Area, Yobe State. He is Kanuri by tribe. He however grew up at Maiduguri Borno State. He attended Government Primary and Secondary Schools in Maiduguri. He graduated from the University of Maiduguri with B.Sc in Geography 1997.
He did his National Youth Service Corps in Akwa Ibom State in 1998. He joined the Nigeria Police Force as Cadet Assistant Superintendent of Police in 2000. After passing out from training in the Police Academy Wudil Kano, Kyari was posted to Adamawa State where he served in Song, Girei and Numan Local Government Area with remarkable successes in crime bursting. He stood out when he led the arrest of a notorious armed robber called, ‘Ndagi’ a.k.a Spirit. Spirit held Numan, the third biggest town in Adamawa State hostage for several years before his eventual arrest.
Kyari joined the Police Mobile Force, popularly known as Mopol, in 2005 and was there for about five years until his posting to Lagos Command October in 2010. He was deployed as the second-in-command to SARS and later became the OC SARS on January 15, 2011.
Some of his achievements: Kyari was instrumental in the arrest of the most notorious armed robber in the South West, Abiodun Egunjobi, otherwise known as Godogodo. Godogodo was arrested in Ibadan, Oyo State, with some of his gang members. SARS recovered 42 AK47 rifles from the gang. Godogodo confessed to have killed over 150 Nigerians, including over 50 policemen during his 10 years reign as the kingpin of South West armed robbers. There was also the arrest of Benjamin Osinachi, a.k.a. China, and his entire gang of kidnappers based in Ghana, but operated in Nigeria.
Their victims included a sitting High Court Judge, a sitting local government chairman, many expatriates, amongst others. China and his gang members held South West residents by the jugulars for long. But Kyari with his men, were said to have deployed, “Advanced Technology and brought the kidnappers down.” Several AK47 rifles and thousands of ammunitions were recovered from the gang. The defeat of Andrew and his gang of deadly kidnappers in Igando area of Lagos metropolis was spearheaded by Kyari and his men. SARS recovered 12 AK47 rifles, GPMGs and rocket launchers from the gang. During Kyari’s tenure, SARS arrested Chinansa and gang in the Ajagbadi area of Lagos. The SARS men recovered 11 AK47 rifles, rocket launchers and GPMGs from them. There was the arrest of the General Overseer of a church located at Ejigbo.
The General Overseer was part of the gang of robbers that attacked the Murtala Muhammed International Airport. The gang was later discovered to have operated at Ogun, Kwara and Rivers States. When they were eventually arrested, police recovered five AK47 rifles and GPMGs. Kyari was also instrumental in the arrest of the kidnappers of former Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iwela’s mother. The kidnappers used to operate in Delta, Edo and Port Harcourt. This gang killed the former Deputy Governor of Anambra State and kidnapped the wife of a sitting Supreme Court Judge.
Kyari and his men also arrested the kidnappers that abducted Alhaji Aliko Dangote’s cousin. Another gang that kidnapped a British citizen, Dickson Lee, along the International Airport Road, was also defeated. The Briton was kidnapped moments after landing in Nigeria. There was the arrest of Obinna in Onitsha, Anambra State. Obinna was the most notorious sponsor and kingpin of robbers who specialised in hijacking trailers carrying containers. SARS has also in its feather, the arrest of Emmanuel aka Arab. Arab and his gang members were described as deadly. 12 AK 47 rifles, including four AK47 rifles belonging to Policemen they killed during bank robbery in Kwara State were recovered from them. Kyari and his men led the rescue of a young Kwara female model in Delta State. The policeman and his men also led in the rescue operation of Alhaji Fashola, owner of Kings Petroleum in Isheri Oshun Lagos.
The team also rescued Alhaja Khadija in Epe area Lagos from the clutches of kidnappers. One Mr. Ademola, an hotelier in Ijebu-Ode, Ogun State, was also rescued from kidnappers. The arrest of Pastor Eze led gang of kidnappers and recovery of several rifles still resonated in memories of many people. Some kidnappers, based in Ajah, led by one Tony was arrested. Police recovered five AK47 rifles from the gang. Most recently, there was the arrest of several trans-border armed robbers led by one Victor who operated in Nigeria and several West African Countries. SARS operatives recovered several AK47 rifles belonging to slain police men from the gang. Just last month, Kyari led the operation that saw to the defeat of Princewill Eze a.k.a Senator Nwobodo. The suspect was described as a serial fraudster. He and his gang used to operate in EFCC uniforms and had police Walkie- Talkie and siren vehicle.
Nwobodo used to pose as one of the Directors in EFCC. Under this guise, he had allegedly duped and robbed several people. Nwobodo and his gang used to target operators of Bureau de change in different part of the country. Lagos residents are still celebrating the arrest of the evil nanny who kidnapped three boys belonging to same parents. The kids were called ‘the Orekoyas kids’. The evil nanny was arrested within three days that the case was transferred to Kyari and his men. Few days back before Kyari got his posting letter to Abuja, he led in the arrest of Lekki armed robbers.
The robbers, a few weeks back, attacked the First City Monument Bank(FCMB). They killed three policemen and a girl hawking fish. They carted away money and escaped through the waterways. Over 300 AK47 rifles, several GPMGs and rocket launchers were recovered from the Lekki robbers after their arrest. Splintered members from the gang recently attacked banks at Ijede and Ogolonto areas of Ikorodu, Lagos. They escaped, as usual, through the waterways. Police have arrested four of the Ikorodu bank robbers. Kyari has received a lot of awards to mark his achievements. But to mention a few; there’s the IGP Commendation Award for Courage 2012, 2013, 2014. There Governors Award for Gallantry, Leadership and Service excellence 2011, 2012, 2013. There’s Commissioner of Police Commendation Award for Courage 2011. Best Anti- Crime Police Officer in West Africa from Security Watch Africa, Star Award from CRAN 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014.
Source: The EAGLE Online