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Abba Kyari’s co-defendants plead guilty to NDLEA’s charges

Two co-defendants of the suspended Deputy Commissioner of Police, DCP Abba Kyari, have pleaded guilty to the drug trafficking charges preferred against him by the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) on Monday.

Meanwhile, the embattled senior police officer, Abba Kyari, pleaded not guilty to the charges.

NewsWireNGR reports that in the dock along with the embattled senior police officer are four other police officers- ACP Sunday J. Ubia, ASP Bawa James, Insp. Simon Agirigba and Insp. John Nuhu, as well as two alleged drug traffickers that were arrested at the Akanu Ibiam International Airport in Enugu, Chibunna Patrick Umeibe and Emeka Alphonsus Ezenwanne.

Kyari pleaded not guilty to counts one, two, three, four and eight levelled against him, the other four police officers, who are defendants in the trial, also pleaded not guilty to counts one, two, three and four filed against them.

But Chibunna Patrick Umeibe and Emeka Alphonsus Ezenwanne, who are 6th and 7th defendants respectively, pleaded guilty to counts five, six and seven preferred against them.

Although their names were also mentioned in counts three and four where allegations bordering on conspiracy were leveled against Kyari and others, they were not ask to take a plea on these two counts.

The four members of the Inspector-General of Police Intelligence Response Team (IRT) in the charge marked FHC/ABJ/57/2022 include ACP Sunday J. Ubia, ASP Bawa James, Insp. Simon Agirigba and Insp. John Nuhu.

Umeibe and Ezenwanne are the two alleged drug traffickers that were arrested at the Akanu Ibiam International Airport in Enugu.

Some of the charges against them, read; “That you, DCP Abba Kyari, ACP Sunday J. Ubua, ASP Bawa James, Inspector Simon Agirigba and Inspector John Nuhu, all male, Adult on or about the 19th to 25th January 2022, at Abuja, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, dealt in 17.55kilogrammes of cocaine without lawful authority and thereby committed an offence contrary to and punishable under section 11(c) of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency Act, CAP N30 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004.

ALSO READ: NDLEA: Don’t send me to prison, Abba Kyari begs court

“That you, DCP Abba Kyari, ACP Sunday J Ubua, ASP Bawa James, Inspector Simon Agirgba and Inspector John Nuhu, all male, all male, Adult on or about the 19th to 25th January 2022, within the office of the Inspector-General of (IGP) Intelligence Response Team (IRT), Abuja, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court conspired amongst yourselves and with ASP John Umoru (now at large) to unlawfully tamper with 21.35 kilogramames of cocaine seized from Chibunna Patrick Umeibe and Emeka Alphonsus Ezenwannne in the custody of the Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Intelligence Response Team (IRT), by removing and disposing 17.55 kilogrammes of the cocaine and by substituting same with some other substance and thereby committed an offence contrary to and punishable under section 14(b) of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency ACT CAP N30 Laws of the Federation 2004.

“That you DCP Abba Kyari, on or about 25th January 2022, at a restaurant on Port Harcourt Crescent, Area 11, Garki Abuja, within the jurisdiction of the court, attempted to obstruct the Agency and its authorised officers in the exercise of their duties by offering the sum of $61,400.00 USD (sixty-one thousand, four hundred United States of America Dollars) to a senior officer of the Agency as inducement to prevent the testing of the 17.55kilogrammes of substance used to replace the cocaine seized from Chibunna Patrick Umeibe and Emeka Alphonsus Ezenwanne and thereby committed an offence contrary to section 23 and punishable under section 49 of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency Act Cap N30 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004”.

Shortly after taking their plea, the NDLEA lawyer, Joseph Sunday, Director, Prosecution and Legal Services, prayed the court for a trial date for the 1st to 5th defendants.

Sunday also urged the court to grant a leave to review the charges against 

Umeibe andEzenwanne who pleaded guilty for the charges against them.  

“We hope to file our prove of evidence latest tomorrow (Tuesday),” he said.

Kanu Agabi, SAN, who led a delegation of Senior Advocates of Nigeria that appeared for Kyari and Ubia,  however informed that a bail application had been filed in respect of his clients. 

The NDLEA’s lawyer, Joseph Sunday, Director, Prosecution and Legal Services, who confirmed being served with the bail application, said a counter affidavit had been filed in its opposition.

The NDLEA, in the charge it filed through a team of lawyers, accused Kyari and the four other police officers of conspiracy, obstruction, and dealing in cocaine worth 17.55kg.

It equally alleged that Kyari and his men, who are currently in its custody, also unlawfully tampered with 21.25kg worth of cocaine.

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

t Kyari, formerly head of IRT, and six others would be arraigned before Justice Nwite.

The Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN, had, on Wednesday, filed an application for the commencement of extradition process of Kyari in the FHC.

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 Nigerian government’s approval of the request by the U. S. for Kyari’s extradition.

Kyari is to stand trial for conspiracy to commit wire fraud, money laundering and identity theft.

He was accused of conspiring with a United Arab Emirates (UAE)-based Nigerian, Ramon Abbas, aka Hushpuppi, to commit the crime, and Kyari had denied the allegations.

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 at the time of filing the report.

Justice Zainab Abubakar of a FHC had, on Feb. 22, gave 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 Feb. 28, turned down by a sister 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.

Kyari, dressed in blue native attire, and his police Co-Defendants, pleaded not guilty to the charge, the 6th and 7th Defendants, Umeibe and Ezenwanne, pleaded guilty to the charge that was read to them before trial Justice Emeka Nwite.

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