As part of the many measures taken to address the allegations levied against a Deputy Commissioner of Police, Abba Kyari, by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Inspector-General of Police, Usman Alkali Baba, Monday, approved the posting of DCP Tunji Disu as the new Head of the Police Intelligence Response Team (IRT).
A statement issued by Force Public Relations Officer, Mr. Frank Mba, a Commissioner of Police, said the posting of the officer followed management’s decision to fill the leadership gap within the IRT and refocus the unit for better service delivery.
But THISDAY has learnt that the presidency, apparently feeling obligated to its extradition treaty, had Saturday evening directed the Baba to suspend Kyari.
This is as the DIG Joseph Egbunike-led panel set up by the Inspector-General of Police to probe the allegations against Kyari, has also begun sitting in Abuja.
According to a statement by Mba, which stated that the posting took immediate effect, “The IGP has charged the new head of the IRT to demonstrate his professional competence in his leadership of the unit.
“He also assured citizens that the IRT will remain focused in the discharge of its duties in line with national statutes and international best practices”, he said.
Prior to his appointment as the new Head of the IRT, Disu, the statement stated, is a former Commander of the Rapid Response Squad (RRS) Lagos State, and Deputy Commissioner of Police, Department of Operations, Force Headquarters, Abuja.
He had also previously served at the State CID, Rivers State as the Deputy Head of the Unit. He was also a Commander of the Nigeria Police Contingent to the African Union (AU) Peace Keeping Mission in Dafur, Sudan.
Disu holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the Lagos State University (LASU) and a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from the Adekunle Ajasin University, Ondo State.
He has also attended several professional courses both at home and abroad, including small arms smuggling training in Botswana, internet fraud training at the Cambridge University, UK, strategic leadership command course at the Police Staff College, Jos, forensic investigations and criminal intelligence course at the University of Lagos, amongst others.
He is a member of the International Association of Chiefs of Police, Nigeria Institute of Public Relations and Chattered Institute of Personnel Management, among other professional bodies.
Meanwhile, more details on how Kyari got to this point have emerged as the IG, THISDAY gathered, had a four-hour marathon meeting on Friday with Kyari, where he directed him to respond to the allegations against him as contained in US court papers and served on the police by the FBI in writing.
THISDAY also gathered that the Egbunike-led panel sat and deliberated on the terms of reference as prescribed by the IG before moving forward.
Kyari, the man at the center of the $1.1million fraud linking him with notorious internet fraudster, Ramon Abbas also known as Hushpuppi, is expected to appear before the committee this week.
During the meeting with the IG on Friday, Kyari had allegedly made a preliminary response, which served as a guide in reviewing the case before the presidential directive on his suspension was communicated to Force headquarters.
It was gathered that officials of the US government had reminded the federal government of the existing extradition treaty between the United States and Nigeria and the need for the latter to discharge its obligations under the treaty.
Competent sources told THISDAY that pressure from the US had compelled the presidency to take urgent steps on the matter in order to maintain the anti-graft posture of the government and to satisfy its international treaty obligations.
“The directive to suspend Kyari was from the presidency. The IG was directed to suspend him and investigate the matter. But he cannot do that without making a recommendation to the Police Service Commission (PSC), which he did and the PSC immediately approved his suspension.
“There is international pressure and you know this is a serious issue that cannot be left for IG alone to handle. The image of this country is at stake here”, a police source said.
A foremost human rights lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana, had in an interview with THISDAY, urged the federal government to adhere to the extradition treaty.
“The United States and Nigeria have an extradition treaty, which covers the offences allegedly committed by DCP Abba Kyari. If the police officer insists on his innocence, he may want to submit himself to the jurisdiction of the District Court in the United States.
“Otherwise, the United States government will have to request for his extradition in accordance with the terms of the Treaty. Once the request is received by the federal government, the Attorney-General/Minister of Justice will commence extradition proceedings in the Federal High Court. Alternatively, the office of the Attorney-General may file charges against the police officer since the offences were committed in Nigeria.
“When I suggested to the federal government to request for the extradition of Sunday Adeyemo (a.k.a Igboho), I was simply advising the authorities of both Nigeria and Benin Republic to operate under international law. I am also asking Nigeria and the United States to handle Abba Kyari’s case under international law,” he said.
Kingsley Nwezeh in Abuja