On Monday, a month after being arrested in a stunning fall from grace, a high-profile Nigerian police commander, once nicknamed the country’s “super cop,” pleaded not guilty to drug smuggling charges. Nigerian social media star Hushpuppi was sentenced to three years in prison in the United States for money laundering and other crimes. The national deputy police commissioner at the time, Abba Kyari, was suspended after being linked to the case.
Kyari, who rose to prominence after uncovering a series of high-profile crimes in Nigeria and who formerly led an anti-kidnapping unit that was featured in a documentary, has denied all allegations related to the case. Six other people face eight drug-related charges, including cocaine trafficking. Authorities say he tried to bribe a drug enforcement officer over the sale of cocaine by giving him money.
The hearing was continued until March 14 so that the court could evaluate the bail applications. On March 28, the case will be reviewed again. Kyari has been remanded in jail. As his lawyer, Mahmoud Magaji, told reporters, “My client did not plead guilty, so all I’m trying to do now is get them out of jail through a bail application.”
Two of the accused have entered guilty pleas. Kyari was wanted by the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) for his role in a 25-kilogram (55-pound) cocaine sale. According to the report, he and other officers were arrested for narcotics trafficking with a criminal cartel.
According to authorities, some NDLEA officers were discovered to be “on the payroll” of the cartel Kyari worked for. According to the agency, Kyari allegedly sought to bribe an NDLEA officer in January by requesting him to hide part of a cocaine haul recovered from several suspects. According to the report, Kyari was captured on camera giving over $61,400 (54,100 euros) in cash to an agent. Kyari was accused by the NDLEA of being “a member of a drug cartel that manages the illicit drug pipeline between Brazil, Ethiopia, and Nigeria.”