Alleged drug trafficking: Court rejects DCP Abba Kyari’s bail application

By Taiye Agbaje

A Federal High Court, Abuja, on Monday, refused to grant an application for bail filed by the suspended DCP Abba Kyari. Justice Inyang Ekwo, who declined to grant the plea in a motion ex-parte brought by Kyari’s Lawyer, C. O. Ikena, ordered that the respondent, National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), be put on notice.

He, thereafter, adjourned the matter until April 24 for the motion to be taken. When the matter was called earlier, Ikena informed that she had an ex-parte motion marked: FHC/ANJ/CS/182/22 before the court. She said the motion, dated Feb. 16 and filed Feb. 17, sought a bail for her client on health ground. “I filed a motion to admit the applicant to a bail on health ground pending the determination of the substantive matter,” she said. 

Justice Ekwo then asked: “Where is the applicant?”“He is at the NDLEA’s custody my lord,” she responded.The judge further asked the lawyer what the substantive matter was all about and she said: “The substantive matter is about infringement on his fundamental rights and false allegations.”Ekwo told the lawyer that going by the averments in the application, the respondent (NDLEA) would have to be put on notice and a date fixed to hear the motion.He said this was necessary because the averment in Kyari’s application would need the respondent’s response.“But my lord, his (Kyari’s) condition in the custody is critical,” she said.Justice Ekwo, however, insisted that the NDLEA be put on notice

.The judge adjourned the matter until April 24 for the motion to be taken.He also ordered the respondent to file their processes in response to Kyari’s application before the next adjourned date. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that though the Federal Government is the sole respondent listed in Kyari’s motion, the NDLEA is the agency being sued.  In the affidavit of urgency deposed to by Kyari’s younger brother, Muhammad Nur Usman, who resides in Abuja, he said the suspended DCP “is suffering from diabetes; high blood pressure and severe heart disease that may cause death.” 

Usman, who said Kyari was receiving medical treatment on daily basis due to seriousness of the illness, said that since Feb. 12, his elder brother had not access any medical treatment which, he said, was very dangerous to his health.  He said a medical report from the National Hospital, Abuja, was attached to the motion and marked as “Exhibit A.”Usman said: “That failure of the applicant to check his heart, high blood pressure will result in severe health problems or may even lead to heart failure and death. “That due to the applicant being a diabetic patient and on medical diet, he does not eat outside his home and this is causing a very big hardship on the applicant that is in NDLEA’s custody.”

He averred that Kyari’s health cannot be managed while in NDLEA’s custody due to the seriousness of his illness.He prayed the court to admit him to bail in the interest of justice considering the health challenge.Usman, who assured that the former head of the Inspector-General (I-G) of Police Intelligence Response Team (IRT) would not jump bail if the request was granted, said Kyari had a reliable surety to stand for him. NAN reports that the NDLEA had, on Feb. 14, declared Kyari wanted over alleged links with an international drug cartel.Femi Babafemi, spokesperson of the NDLEA, had announced the development, in a press briefing.Babafemi said the anti-drug agency decided to declare Kyari wanted because he did not honour the invitation sent to him.

NAN also reports that the Nigeria Police Force had, on same day (Feb. 14), arrested DCP Kyari and four other police officers for their involvement in an alleged case of criminal conspiracy, discreditable, unethical, and unprofessional conduct.Other allegations levelled against them include official corruption and tampering with exhibits in a case of illicit drug trafficking involving a transnational drug cartel.The arrest of Kyari and others came shortly after the NDLEA declared him wanted.

The police then handed Kyari and others involved in the alleged offences to the NDLEA.The acting Police Spokesman, Muyiwa Adejobi, had said that their arrest was in line with standard administrative procedure of the Force.He said the I-G ordered a high-level, discreet, and in-house investigation into the allegations.Adejobi said interim investigations report showed that two international drug couriers identified as Chibunna Patrick Umeibe and Emeka Alphonsus, both males, were arrested at Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu on Jan. 19 upon their arrival from Addis Ababa aboard an Ethiopian Airlines flight ET917.“

The arrest led to the recovery of a substantial quantity of powdery substance suspected to be cocaine from the two narcotic couriers.The operation, which was intelligence-driven, was undertaken by a unit of the police IRT.“Although the case and the two suspects were subsequently transferred to the NDLEA on Jan. 25, the findings of the in-house investigation ordered by the I-G, established reasonable grounds for strong suspicion that the IRT officers involved in the operation could have been involved in some unprofessional dealings as well as official corruption.”There action also compromised ethical standards in their dealings with the suspects and exhibits recovered.“On the strength of the findings of the in-house Police Investigation Panel, the Inspector-General of Police has ordered the immediate arrest and transfer of all the indicted police officers to the NDLEA authorities for conclusive investigation, while appropriate disciplinary actions are also being initiated against them by the Force leadership.“

The concerned officers include DCP Abba Kyari, ACP Sunday Ubuah, ASP Bawa James, ASP John Umoru (at large), Inspector Simon Agrigba and John Nuhu. They have all been, accordingly, handed over today, February 14, 2022 to the NDLEA authorities.“In so doing, the Inspector General of Police has also formally requested that the Chairman of NDLEA should ensure the identification, arrest and investigation of the agency’s officers who have also been found to be colluding with the international drug cartel involved in this case towards advancing the anti-narcotics agenda of the federal government,” Adejobi said.

It would be recalled that the Police Service Commission (PSC) had, recently, ordered that the four officers in custody of the NDLEA with Kyari be suspended while Umoru, said to be at large, be arrested.NAN reports that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) had, earlier, indicted Kyari of conspiring with Hushpuppi, the self-confessed international fraudster, in a $1.1 million scam.The suspended police officer had denied the allegation, claiming that his “hands are clean.”(NAN)