Nigeria’s highly decorated police officer arrested in drug cartel case

A highly decorated police officer in Nigeria has been arrested following accusations he belongs to an international drugs cartel, police say.

Abba Kyari, already suspended for allegedly helping self-avowed fraudster to launder his money in the US, is now accused in a cocaine plot.

Officials say Mr Kyari asked a colleague to help him siphon off part of a cocaine haul.

They say he was caught on camera handing over $61,400 in cash.

He has not yet commented on the allegations.

Mr Kyari’s arrest came hours after Nigeria’s National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) declared him a wanted man, accusing him of being “a member of a drug cartel that operates the Brazil-Ethiopia-Nigeria illicit drug pipeline”.

He was arrested on Monday along with four other officers – Sunday Ubuah, Bawa James, Simon Agrigba and John Nuhu – following a “high-level discreet” investigation, a police statement said. It added that one other officer – John Umoru – remained “at large”.

As part of its investigations, Nigerian police also said a number of anti-drugs officers at the international airport of the south-eastern city of Enugu were found to be “on the payroll” of the same cartel Mr Kyari is accused of working for.

Mr Kyari, 46, once had a reputation of being a “super cop” who investigated big criminal cases.

He received a presidential medal of courage from Mr Buhari in 2016 after his team rescued three kidnapped schoolgirls in Lagos.

He was also honoured by the Lagos state government, winning the top award for gallantry three years in a row between 2011 and 2013, and he was known for fraternising with politicians and celebrities.