NDLEA denies attempt to scuttle Abba Kyari’s extradition, to arraign officer, 6 others over drug trafficking today
The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) will arraign the suspended deputy commissioner of police, Abba Kyari, before the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja today, over alleged involvement in drug trafficking.
Its spokesman, Babafemi, debunked speculations that the charges against Kyari were meant to scuttle extradition efforts against the suspended police officer, as they had been filed since February 28, 2022.
“I would love to state that the NDLEA did not file charges against these individuals just yesterday. The charges were filed against them since February 28, 2022. The matter has been assigned to a judge and the suspects are due for arraignment in court on Monday, March 7, before Court 8 of the Federal High Court in Abuja.
“This is to correct the insinuation that probably the NDLEA rushed to court to go and file charges after extradition charges were filed against one of the key suspects.
“In our case, we have charged seven persons, not just an individual alone. This is to correct the impression so that people would not keep reading unnecessary meaning into certain actions by the agency,” he said.
DCP Kyari will be docked before Justice Emeka Nwite, alongside four other police officers, namely ACP Sunday J. Ubia, ASP Bawa James, Insp. Simon Agirigba and Insp. John Nuhu, and two alleged drug traffickers that were arrested at the Akanu Ibiam International Airport in Enugu, Chibunna Patrick Umeibe and Emeka Alphonsus Ezenwanne.
The Defendants will enter their plea to an eight-count criminal charge the NDLEA preferred against them.
The agency, in the charge marked FHC/ABJ/57/2022, alleged that Kyari who hitherto headed the Police Intelligence Response Team (IRT) and his men, unlawfully tampered with 21.25kg worth of cocaine seized from the two apprehended drug traffickers, Umeibe and Ezenwanne.
It alleged that the police officers committed the offence between January 19 and 25, 2022, at the office of Inspector-General of Police (IGP) 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.
Kyari was said to have attempted to bribe a senior officer of the NDLEA with $61,400. 00 at a restaurant in Abuja to prevent the testing of part of the cocaine that was seized from the two arrested drug pushers.
On the other hand, NDLEA told the court that Umeibe and Ezenwanne conspired with one IK that is currently at large, to import 21.35kg of cocaine into the country without lawful authority and knowingly possessed same, and thereby committed an offence contrary to and punishable under section 11(d) of the NDLEA Act, CAP N30 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004.
Some of the charges against the Defendants, 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.
“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”.
The Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami, SAN, had last Wednesday, okayed request for DCP Kyari to be extradited to the United States of America, USA, to face trial over his alleged involvement with an internet fraudster, Ramon Abbas, popularly known as Hushpuppi.
Kyari is wanted in the U.S. to stand trial for conspiracy to commit wire fraud, money laundering and identity theft.
A grand jury had in April 29, 2021, filed an indictment against him with the approval of the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, afterwhich a warrant was issued for his arrest.
Malami said the extradition application he filed before the court followed a request by the Diplomatic Representative of the U.S. Embassy in Abuja for Kyari to be surrendered for trial.
The AGF, in an affidavit that was filed in support of the extradition application, said he was satisfied that the offence in respect of which Kyari’s surrender was sought, is not political or trivial.
He said he was also satisfied that the request for Kyari to be surrendered, was not made to persecute or punish him on account of his race, religion, nationality or political opinions, but in good faith and the interest of justice.
According to him, Kyari, “if surrendered, will not be prejudiced at his trial and will not be punished, detained or restricted in his personal liberty, by reason of his race, nationality or political opinions”, adding that having regard to all the circumstances in which the alleged offence was committed, it would not be unjust or oppressive, or severe a punishment, to surrender him.
More so, Malami, noted that there was no criminal proceeding pending against Kyari in Nigeria, bordering on the same offence for which he is wanted in the USA.
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