The Federal High Court in Abuja, on Tuesday, dismissed fresh bail requests by Abba Kyari and four of his co-defendants.
Mr Kyari, a suspended deputy commissioner of police is standing trial on cocaine-related charges alongside four members of his former police unit, the Intelligence Response Unit (IRT).
The four police officers among Mr Kyari’s co-defendants are Sunday Ubua, an assistant commissioner of police; Bawa James, an assistant superintendent of police; Simon Agirgba, an inspector, and John Nuhu, also an inspector.
Two civilians, Chibunna Umeibe and Emeka Ezenwanne, who were arrested over the charges at the Akanu Ibiam International Airport in Enugu, Enugu State, were also charged as the 6th and 7th defendants. The court jailed the two men in June after pleaded guilty in March.
Mr Abba Kyari and his other co-defendants had remained in detention after their arraignment in March.
Ruling on their fresh bail applications, the judge said Mr Kyari and his co-defendants failed to present sufficient materials and evidence to sway the court in granting them bail.
Thereafter, Mr Nwite reaffirmed his earlier decision of 28 March, denying the defendants bail while ordering an accelerated hearing of the suit.
Basis for fresh bail requests
Mr Kyari’s lawyer, Onyechi Ikpeazu, based his client’s bail application on the recent invasion of Kuje Correctional Centre in Abuja by armed terrorists.
In his arguments to secure Mr Kyari’s freedom, Mr Ikpeazu, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), told the court how armed terrorists invaded the prison facilities where Mr Kyari is being held.
He said the terrorists took control of the facility for three hours.
The defence lawyer told the judge that his client’s life was in danger due to the recent attack on the detention facility where Mr Kyari is being held.
In his arguments, Mr Ikpeazu disclosed that the terrorists who were members of the Islamic State of West Africa Province (ISWAP) also took control of the prison for over three hours.
He added that his client being a “law-abiding” citizen did not runaway, even when he had the opportunity to do so.
Assuring that Mr Kyari will not jump bail, Mr Ikpeazu said he would not interfare with investigations as the prosecution had told the court that investigations in the suit had been concluded.
But Sunday Ubua’s lawyer, Gboyega Oyewole (SAN), urged the court to grant his client bail on the grounds the health condition of his wife, whom he said had been battling cancer.
Mr Oyewole told the court that Mr Ubua had been the sole caregiver of his ailing wife, urging the court to admit him to bail.
He said the proof of evidence showed the NDLEA had nothing against Mr Ubua.
How NDLEA opposed bail applications
In opposition, the Director of Prosecution and Legal Services of the NDLEA, Sunday Joseph, urged the court to refuse the bail applications for Mr Kyari and his co-defendants.
According to the prosecuting lawyer, Mr Kyari and his co-defendants are “flight risk” and that they would tamper with the money laundering investigations and the witnesses lined up for the trial.
He said the court had earlier made pronouncement on the bail of the defendants and that there was nothing placed before the court to warrant a reconsideration of the earlier pronouncement of the court.
Meanwhile, the anti-narcotics agency tendered more evidence to prove the eight-count charge bordering on illicit drug deal preferred against Mr Kyari and his co-defendants.
The prosecution counsel, tendered the documentary evidence through the third witness called by the agency since the trial commenced on Monday.
Among the fresh evidence tendered through PW3, Chief Superintendent of Narcotics, Peter Joshua, who is an exhibit officer attached to the FCT command of NDLEA and admitted by the court as exhibits are the sum of 61, 400 dollars, certificate of test analysis, packing of substance forms and two big traveling bags containing the cocaine.
Also admitted as exhibits were the international passports of two co-defendants of the DCP Abba Kyari, who have been convicted and sentenced by the court earlier.
Mr Kyari and four others are standing trial for alleged hard drug trafficking offences preferred against them by the NDLEA.
All the seven defendants were arraigned on 7 March on eight charges of conspiracy, illegal dealing in cocaine, importation of cocaine and obstruction.
Mr Kyari and the four other police officers pleaded not guilty, setting the stage for the commencement of their trial.
But the two other co-defendants, Messrs Umeibe and Ezenwanne, pleaded guilty to the charges, and were subsequently jailed two years each by the court.
NDLEA prosecutors accused Mr Kyari and the four IRT members of illicit dealing in 21.35kg of cocaine between 19 and 25 January, 2022, thereby committing an offence contrary to and punishable under section 11(c) of the NDLEA Act.
In one of the charges, the anti-narcotic agency alleged that Mr Kyari and the four IRT operatives illicitly tampered with 21.35kg of cocaine by removing 17.55 kg of it and “substituting same with some other substance”.
The offence is said to be contrary to and punishable under section 14(b) of the NDLEA Act.
The prosecutors also accused Mr Kyari, in a count which features only him as the sole defendant, of attempting to obstruct the NDLEA and its authorised officers by offering $61,400 to a senior anti-narcotics operative as an inducement to prevent the testing of the 17.55kg of cocaine.
In three of the counts, Messrs Umeibe and Ezenwanne were accused of importing 21.35kg of cocaine into Nigeria via the Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu, Enugu State, on January 19, 2022.
They have since accepted their guilt and are now waiting for the legal process that will lead to their conviction and sentencing.
Apart from the narcotic charges, Mr Kyari has pending against him fraud charges in the United States and an extradition suit at the Federal High Court in Abuja.
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