Journalism of Courage

U.S.-bound DC Abba Kyari arraigned, enters “not-guilty” plea

The suspended Police Deputy Commissioner, Abba Kyari, was on Monday brought before justice at the Federal High Court, Abuja, on charges bordering on drug trafficking.

 

Standing in the dock, Kyari denied the allegations brought against him and six others by the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA).

Four other police officers, who are charged with Kyari, also pleaded not guilty to counts one, two, three and four of the charges.

The four officers who were members of the Inspector-General of Police Intelligence Response Team, are ACP Sunday J. Ubia, ASP Bawa James, Insp. Simon Agirigba and Insp. John Nuhu.

But the sixth and seventh accused — Chibunna Patrick Umeibe and Emeka Alphonsus Ezenwanne — again pleaded guilty to counts five, six and seven of the charges.

Persecondnews reports that Umeibe and Ezenwanne are the two suspected drug traffickers arrested at the Akanu Ibiam International Airport in Enugu.

After the court had taken their plea, the NDLEA lawyer, Mr Joseph Sunday, the  Director, Prosecution and Legal Services, asked for a date for the trial of the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th defendants.

He urged the court to grant him a leave to enable him to review the charges against Umeibe and Ezenwanne, who had pleaded guilty to the charges.

“We hope to file our prove of evidence latest tomorrow (Tuesday),” he told Justice Emeka Nwite.

Counsel to Kyari and Ubia, Chief Kanu Agabi (SAN), leading a team of some Senior Advocates of Nigeria, told the court that a bail application had been filed on their behalf.

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In counter action, the NDLEA’s lawyer said a counter affidavit had been filed against the bail application.

Kyari and the four police officers are facing charges of conspiracy, obstruction, and dealing in cocaine worth 17.55kg.

Kyari and his men, who are currently in NDLEA custody, also unlawfully tampered with 21.25kg worth of cocaine.

Umeibe and Ezenwanne were accused of conspiring with others at large to import 21.35kg of cocaine into the country.

In another development, the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr Abubakar Malami (SAN), had on Wednesday last week, filed an application for the commencement of the extradition process of Kyari to U.S. at the court in Abuja.

The Federal Government, through the Office of the AGF, had filed the application marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/249/2022, under the Extradition Act as part of the Nigerian government’s approval of the request by the U. S. for Kyari’s extradition.

Kyari will face trial for conspiracy to commit wire fraud, money laundering and identity theft.

He is also accused of conspiring with a United Arab Emirates-based Nigerian, Ramon Abbas, a.k.a Hushpuppi, to commit the crime, which Kyari had denied.

A grand jury, on April 29, 2021, had filed an indictment against Kyari with the approval of the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, and the court issued a warrant of arrest for him.

However, the extradition proceeding is yet to be heard by the FHC as of the time of filing the report.

Justice Zainab Abubakar of the Federal High Court had, on February 22, given the NDLEA the go-ahead to detain Kyari and six others in custody for another 14 days to conclude its investigation.

His application for bail was, on February 28, turned down by another court presided over by Justice Inyang Ekwo, on the grounds that a court of coordinate justification had already granted an order for his further detention.

But Ekwo, who said that he was inclined to hear Kyari’s fundamental enforcement rights suit with the urgency it deserves after the expiration of the 14-day court order, fixed March 15 to hear Kyari’s application.

Earlier, Kyari, through his lawyer, on February 21, approached the court with an ex-parte motion and originating summons seeking bail and asking the court to enforce his fundamental human rights which he alleged had been breached by the unlawful arrest and detention.

He said that the allegations preferred against him were trump-up and baseless.

Kyari, in the main suit, urged the court to make an order directing the NDLEA to pay him N500 million for infringing on his rights.

He also asked the court to direct the agency to tender a public apology in national dailies.

The suspended DCP had also challenged the order made on February 22 by Justice Abubakar, empowering the NDLEA to detain him for more days.

In an application filed by his counsel before Abubakar, Kyari had urged the court to set aside the order for his detention, arguing that the order was issued without him being accorded a fair hearing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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