The Impunity and Corrupt Practices of Late Mr. Abba Kyari By Peter Maxwell

In an attempt to canonize the late Malam Abba Kyari his friends in and outside the government have attempted to play on the intelligence of Nigerians and the international community. In particular, the trio of Simon Kolawole, Segun Adeniyi and Waziri Adio who are senior journalists have given the very  misleading impression that their friend was incorruptible, honest and loyal to President Mohammadu Buhari. Since Mr. Kyari was called to the bar in 1983 he was a lawyer of 37 years’ standing at the time he passed away. Yet the senior lawyer who has been described as “the best among us” served as a loyal gatekeeper of a regime that operated without any regard for the rule of law. 

While it is correct to say that he was not the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice of the regime he was expected to have deployed his legal knowledge and experience guide his boss to toe the path of constitutional democracy. But Mr. Kyari who has been described by his friends as an urbane and detribalised Nigerian conveniently kept the gate of a sectional and parochial regime for 5 years. Such a man can only be said to be patriotic or nationalistic in the warped imagination of his disloyal friends who were too opportunistic to speak truth to  power.

Happily, Nigerians have not been fooled because the facts about on tthe role of played in the Buhari regime are in the public domain. Contrary to what his friends would like us to believe Mr. Kyari took actions that have undoubtedly confirmed his own personal love and passion for impunity and lawlessness under a democratically elected government. Some of the acts of corruption and impunity of the Mr. Kyari which were never disputed by him while he was alive include the following: 

1. Mr. Kyari was loyal to the President to the extent of colluding with his boss to turn the Constitution of Nigeria and other extant statutes upside down in their bid to impose a nepotistic government on the people of Nigeria. In the last 5 years people were arrested and detained illegally in defiance of orders of competent courts in the land. 

2. According to the First Lady, Hajia Aisha Buhari, Mr. Kyari was a member of a cabal that hijacked and exercised powers on behalf of President Buhari. A member, Mr. Isa Ismaila has confirmed the existence of the illegal body. Mr. Kyari’s friends have not reacted to the fact the senior lawyer was a proud member of a cabal that is unknown to the Constitution. 

3. It is common knowledge that majority of the appointments made by President Buhari have breached the provisions of the Constitution and the Federal Character Commission Act. Yet the powerful learned man  never advised President Buhari against making illegal appointments.  In fact, he benefited from them as he influenced the appointments of his children and friends into government positions without due process.

4. President Buhari appointed himself as the Minister of Petroleum Resources contrary to the provisions of the Constitution. Mr. Kyari allowed President Buhari to appoint him as a member of the Board of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation against the clear provisions of the law. A true believer in the rule of law would have advised the President on the illegality of both appointments.  

5. While the President was on medical vacation in the United Kingdom last year the gatekeeper took a bill to him to sign in a private house. As a senior lawyer Mr. Kyari ought to have known that a  bill passed by the national assembly in Nigeria cannot be signed into law by the President while on vacation or leave outside the country. But Mr. Kyari embarked on the trip to London to prevent the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo SAN from signing the bill into law.

6. Under the Constitution the Chief of Staff is not a member of the Nigerian Security and Defence Council.  But according to the National Security Adviser to the President, Major General Babagana Monguno (retd) Mr. Kyari usurped the constitutional powers of the President by summoning and presiding over the illegal meetings of the service chiefs. 

7. Under the Public Procurement Act the Chief of Staff has no powers whatsoever to award any contract. But in a letter which leaked to the media last year the National Security Adviser had cause to petition President Buhari over the illegal award of multi billion naira security contracts by Mr. Kyari without the approval of the Federal Executive Council.  

8. Under the Nigerian Constitution a Minister is higher than the chief of staff and other staff of the President. In 2017, former Minister of Health, Professor Isaac Adewole rejected the illegal directive of Mr. Kyari over  the award of contracts in the federal ministry of health.  Angered by the action of the Minister, Mr. Kyari transferred the powers of the Professor Adewole over procurement to the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development. Mr. Kyari also made sure that  Professor Adewole was not reappointed as a Minister. 

9. Under the Protocol of the Federal Government. 

the Head of Service of the Federation is higher than the Chief of Staff. But Mr. Kyari challenged the decision of the immediate past Head of Service, Mrs Eyo Ita over the removal of a pension fraud suspect, Mr. Abdulrasheed Maina from the federal civil service. Nigerians watched with amazement how the Chief of Staff humiliated Mrs Eyo Ita in a meeting of the Federal Executive Council. 

10. Former acting Director- General of the National Intelligence Agency, Ambassador Mohammed Dauda, in a sworn testimony before the House of Representatives Committee on National Security and Intelligence, disclosed  that Mr.  Abba Kyari and another member of the cabal had pressured him to share the $44 million Ikoyi millions. Even though the allegation was not denied Ambassador Dauda was dismissed dismissed from the service. 

11. Mr. Kyari was alleged by a contractor, Alhaji Bako Waziri Kyari to have collected a bribe of N29 million from him from a contract for the supply of 15 Hilux trucks. After the publication of the allegation by The Punch newspaper the contractor was detained by the DSS. Mr. Kyari threatened to sue the Punch newspaper for libel but he never did for fear that his corrupt activities might be further exposed in the Court. 

12. Mr. Kyari was alleged to have taken bribe from a telecommunication company whose fine was reduced from $8 billion to $1.6 billion  by the federal government. An online publication, Sahareporters provided the details including the fact that the officials of the company involved in the shady deal were fired. While Mr. Kyari never defended himself publicly he was alleged to have told his media friends that he never took a bribe but they never published the defence while he was alive. 

13. In breach of the Constitution and the Protocol of the Federal Government Mr. Kyari was reported to have led a delegation of federal government officials including the Minister of Power to negotiate the deal on power supply on behalf of the country with Siemens in Germany in March 2020. 

14. Contrary to the Regulations made by President Buhari under the Quarantine Act and the Guidelines issued by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) Mr. Kyari refused to self isolate after the trip to Germany. 

15.  After Mr. Kyari had tested positive to COVID 19 

he announced that he was going to treat himself in a private hospital in Lagos in breach of the Guidelines issued by the NCDC. He might not have passed on if he had allowed himself to be treated by well qualified medical professionals in a well equipped isolation centre in Abuja or Lagos.  

From the above narrative it is clear that the public officers and private individuals who made the allegations of corruption and impunity against Mr. Kyari are not anonymous petitioners. The media friends of Mr. Kyari who are required by section 22 of the Constitution to promote the accountability of the Government to the people kept silent over these serious allegations of corruption and impropriety. By suppressiing the information gathered from Mr. Kyari these senior journalists deliberately violated article 10 of the Code of Ethics for Nigerian Journalists which states that “A journalist should strife to employ open and honest means in the gathering of information.”

If the media friends of Mr. Kyari are convinced that he was a man of integrity I hereby challenge them to conduct full and transparent investigation into the allegations of the corrupt practices made against him while he was alive but which he never denied. In taking up the challenge the senior journalists are advised to interview the persons who made the allegations of corruption, impunity and impropriety against Mr. Kyari. That is the most honest way to defend the damaged reputation of the late Chief of Staff. 

Peter Maxwell

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