The Federal High Court in Abuja has set Wednesday to hear a new bail application filed by suspended Deputy Commissioner of Police, DCP, Abba Kyari, who is charged with narcotics trafficking.
Kyari’s counsel, headed by Senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN, Dr. Onyechi Ikpeazu, pleaded with the court to release him on bail, claiming that his life is in danger in the Kuje Correctional Center.
Despite the fact that the court had previously refused him bail, Kyari, who formerly commanded the Police Intelligence Response Team, IRT, said he was obligated to submit a new plea due to the latest incident at the Kuje jail facility.
Terrorists burst into Kuje jail in Abuja on July 5 and released hundreds of captives, including accused Boko Haram fighters.
Some of the terrorists who stormed the jail reportedly made desperate attempts to find Kyari’s cell.
On the day of his trial, May 24, Kyari informed the court that he felt uncomfortable at the jail and that he was being confined among serious offenders.
Ikpeazu, his lawyer, said that the new motion for the court to review his client’s previous request for release awaiting the decision of the accusation against him became essential due to the nature of the assignments he performed while doing his responsibilities as a police officer.
He informed the court that some of the convicts on remand at the Kuje Correctional Center were persons who were apprehended thanks to Kyari’s squad at the Police IRT.
Aside from DCP Kyari, three other police officers charged with the same offense- ACP Sunday J. Ubia, Insp. Simon Agirigba, and Insp. John Nuhu- pleaded with the court to grant them bail on safety grounds.
The third defendant, Bawa James, an Assistant Superintendent of Police, did not join them in the application.
Mr. Sunday Joseph, the NDLEA’s Director of Legal Services, requested the court to deny the Defendants’ new plea for bail.
Meanwhile, the NDLEA began its case against the Defendants on Monday by introducing its first witness in court.
Mrs Patricia Afolabi, the witness, told the court that she is a Commander of Narcotics connected to the agency’s forensic section, and that part of her job description includes receiving and doing forensic analysis on drug evidence.
She informed the court that on February 7, she received one sealed transparent evidence pack containing 24 dispensing packs from the agency’s forensic liaison officer, Abubakar Aliyu.
According to the witness, each park included 0.5grams of white stuff.
She said that the bundle also included an analysis request form.
“Based on my examination, which I labeled exhibit A-X, I discovered that 21 of the exhibits contained cocaine, whereas exhibits H through G were determined to be negative.”
“I then signed and sealed an analytical report of my results.” “I repacked them as exhibits in a huge envelope addressed to the official in charge at NDLEA Abuja,” the witness said.
Without opposition from the defendants, Trial Justice Emeka Nwite accepted all of the exhibits into evidence.
The witness, who was being cross-examined by Kyari’s lawyer, said that it was not true that every suspect in a drug trade had to be present before such analysis could be undertaken.
She said that it was not usual for all suspects to be present when drugs were also given over for examination.
The witness, who claims to have over 30 years of expertise, went on to say, “I was not there when the substance was retrieved.” I was not there when it was delivered to NDLEA.”
She revealed that NDLEA agents are stationed at all Nigerian entrance ports, including the Akanu Ibiam International Airport in Enugu.
When asked whether she knew if the cocaine was discovered at the Enugu Airport by the NDLEA, the witness stated she didn’t know.
“I’m not sure who retrieved the material.” “I had no touch with any of them,” she continued.
The court continued the witness’s cross-examination until Tuesday.
The NDLEA said that Kyari and his crew illegally tampered with 21.25 kilos of cocaine recovered from two captured drug traffickers, Chibunna Patrick Umeibe and Emeka Alphonsus Ezenwane, while also accusing them of trading in 17.55 kilograms of cocaine.
It was alleged that the officers committed the offense between January 19 and 25, 2022, at the office of the Inspector-General of Police (IGP) IRT, Abuja, in collusion with one ASP John Umoru (now at large), in violation of section 14(b) of the NDLEA Act, CAP N30 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004.
Furthermore, Kyari was accused of attempting to bribe an NDLEA senior officer with $61,400.00 in an Abuja restaurant in order to avoid the testing of a portion of the cocaine confiscated from the two arrested drug pushers.
Umeibe and Ezenwanne, who were named as the 6th and 7th defendants in the FHC/ABJ/57/2022 allegation, were apprehended at Enugu’s Akanu Ibiam International Airport while trying to import cocaine into the country.
They pled guilty to narcotics trafficking on March 7, when they were arraigned with Kyari.
As a result, the court sentenced them to two years in jail on June 14 in accordance with a plea bargain deal they reached with the NDLEA.