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Sunday, June 23, 2024

Court grants bail to Abba Kyari

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The Federal High Court, Abuja Division, has granted bail to former commander of the Intelligence Response Team of the Nigerian Police, Abba Kyari, after more than two years of detention.

Kyari and his co-defendants face eight counts of conspiracy, illegal cocaine trafficking, cocaine importation and obstruction.

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The trial judge, Emeka Nwite, had twice denied bail to Mr Kyari and his co-accused on the grounds that they had failed to present compelling reasons to justify it.

But on Tuesday, Kyari was given a reprieve when the judge granted him bail to allow him to attend his mother’s funeral rites in Borno State.

Granting Mr Kyari’s temporary release from the Kuje Correctional Center in Abuja, where he is being held, the judge said his bail should not exceed two weeks.

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Background

Kyari, a suspended deputy police commissioner, is on trial on cocaine-related charges along with four members of his former police unit, the Intelligence Response Unit (IRT).

The four co-accused are Sunday Ubua, Deputy Commissioner of Police; Bawa James, Assistant Superintendent of Police; Simon Agirgba, inspector, and John Nuhu, also inspector.

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Two civilians, Chibunna Umeibe and Emeka Ezenwanne, who were arrested on the charges at the Akanu Ibiam International Airport in Enugu, Enugu State, were also charged as the sixth and seventh accused. The court jailed the two men for two years each in June 2022 after pleading guilty in early March of the same year.

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They are being tried for alleged serious drug trafficking offenses that the NDLEA prefers against them.

The seven defendants were indicted on March 7, 2022 on eight counts of conspiracy, illegal trafficking of cocaine, importation of cocaine, and obstruction.

Mr Kyari and the four other police officers pleaded not guilty, setting the stage for the start of their trial.

Charges

NDLEA prosecutors charged Mr. Kyari and the four IRT members with trafficking 21.35kg of cocaine between January 19 and 25, 2022, thereby committing a contrary offense punishable under Article 11 (c ) of the NDLEA Act.

In one of the charges, the anti-narcotics agency alleged that Kyari and the four IRT officers handled 21.35kg of cocaine by extracting 17.55kg and “substituting it with some other substance”.

The offense is contrary to and punishable under Section 14(b) of the NDLEA Act.

Prosecutors also accused Kyari, in a charge that presents only him as the sole defendant, of attempting to obstruct the NDLEA and its authorized officials by offering $61,400 to a high-ranking anti-narcotics agent as an inducement to prevent testing of the weight of 17 .55 kg. of cocaine.

In three of the counts, Messrs. Umeibe and Ezenwanne were accused of importing 21.35kg of cocaine into Nigeria through Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu, Enugu State, on January 19, 2022.

In addition to the narcotics charges, Kyari has pending fraud charges in the United States and an extradition suit before the Federal High Court in Abuja.

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