The suspended Nigeria Deputy Commissioner of Police, Abba Kyari, currently standing trial for alleged drug trafficking on Thursday asked a Federal High Court in Abuja to release him on bail over alleged threat to his life.
Kyari, through his team of lawyers led by Dr. Onyechi Ikpeazu, SAN, told the court that he is feeling unsafe at the Kuje Correctional Centre where, he said, he was being remanded with hardened criminals.
DCO Global News
Published on May 27, 2022
By Odoh Dominic Chukwuemeka
Ikpeazu said the fresh application for the court to reconsider the request his client earlier made for bail pending the determination of the charge against him became necessary, considering the nature of assignments he undertook while performing his duties as a police officer.
According to him, some of the inmates at the correctional centre are people that Kyari’s Police Intelligence Response Team arrested.
Aside from Kyari, three other police officers that are also on trial over the alleged offence- ACP Sunday J. Ubia, Inspector Simon Agirigba and Inspector John Nuhu- also begged the court to release them on bail on safety grounds.
However, the third defendant in the matter, Bawa James, who is an Assistant Superintendent of Police, did not join them in the application.
Lawyer for the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, Sunday Joseph, asked the court to reject the bail request.
The prosecution counsel maintained that the matter was originally slated for the review of facts of the case relating to two self-confessed drug traffickers, Chibunna Umeibe and Emeka Ezenwane, who were linked to Kyari.
Both Umeibe and Ezenwanne, who were cited as sixth and seventh defendants in the charge marked FHC/ABJ/57/2022, were arrested at the Akanu Ibiam International Airport in Enugu while attempting to smuggle cocaine into the country.
They had on March 7, when they were arraigned alongside Kyari, pleaded guilty to the drug trafficking charge.
Kyari, who pleaded not guilty to the charge against him, had contended that reviewing facts of the case or sentencing Umeibe and Ezenwanne, while his trial is still ongoing, would be prejudicial to him.
He also drew attention of the court to the fact that both Umeibe and Ezenwanne were also mentioned in some counts in the charge that involved him and the other accused police officers.
The court had in a ruling it delivered on April 28, dismissed Kyari’s objections and held that it would go ahead to review facts of the case against Umeibe and Ezenwanne.
Nevertheless, at the resumed proceedings on the matter on Thursday, Kyari and his police co-defendants said they have gone to the Court of Appeal to challenge the ruling.
They further filed a motion for the court to temporarily halt the trial to await the outcome of the appeal, an application that was opposed by the prosecution which accused the defendants of attempting to stay proceeding in a criminal matter.
Justice Emeka Nwite adjourned the case till June 14 to hear the defendants’ fresh application for bail.
The NDLEA had alleged that Kyari and his men, unlawfully tampered with 21.25kilograms worth of cocaine that they seized from the two apprehended drug traffickers, even as it also accused them of dealing in cocaine worth 17.55kg.
It alleged that the police officers committed the offence between January 19 and 25, 2022, at the office of Inspector-General of Police IRT, Abuja, in connivance with one ASP John Umoru (now at large), contrary to section 14(b) of the NDLEA Act, CAP N30 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004.
Besides, Kyari was said to have attempted to bribe a senior officer of the NDLEA with $61, 400 at a restaurant in Abuja to prevent the testing of part of the cocaine that was seized from the two arrested drug pushers..
By Odoh Dominic Chukwuemeka
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