By Taiye Agbaje
Abuja, Feb. 22,2022
A Federal High Court, Abuja, on Tuesday, granted permission to the NDLEA to further detain suspended DCP Abba Kyari for 14 days, pending conclusion of investigation.
Justice Zainab Abubakar granted the order after the Director, Prosecution and Legal Services, NDLEA, Joseph. Sunday, moved an ex-parte motion to that effect.
The NDLEA, in the application marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/111/2022, also prayed for an extension of time within which to detain the six other suspects named in the alleged offence.
The six others are ACP Sunday J. Ubia, ASP Bawa James, Inspector Simon Agirigba, Inspector John Nuhu, Chibunna Patrick Umeibe and Emeka Alphonsus Ezenwanne.
While Kyari is the 1st respondent, the six others are listed as 2nd to 7th respondents respectively in the application.
The ex-parte motion dated Feb. 15 and filed Feb. 16, sought an order granting leave to the NDLEA for the detention of the suspects in its custody pending the conclusion of investigation.
It also sought “an order to detain the above suspects in NDLEA custody at Gudu, Abuja for 14 days pending the conclusion of investigation
“And any other or further orders as this honourable court may deem fit to make in the circumstances.”
In the affidavit in support of the motion deposed to by Umar Hussaini, an Assistant Litigation Officer of the NDLEA, FCT Command, the agency averred that “the 6th and 7th respondents (Umeibe and Ezenwanne) were arrested by the police including the 3rd to 5th respondents (James, Agirigba and Nuhu) in the Enugu Airport, based on suspicious of importation/trafficking in hard drugs and were subsequently transferred to the applicant for further investigation.
“That the 6th and 7th respondents confessed to the police upon their arrest that they carried the recovered drugs through Addis-Ababa, Ethiopia International Airport on Jan. 19, to Akanu Ibiam International Airport. Enugu, Nigeria.
“That the 6th and 7th respondents conspired with some other persons (now at large) to import the recovered Cocaine to Nigeria from Addis-Ababa, Ethiopia to Nigeria.
“That it is based on the above that the 6th and 7th respondents were arrested, brought into Abuja and handed over to the NDLEA Federal Capital Territory, Abuja for further investigation.”
Hussaini said a preliminary test of the recovered substance by the command officer in the presence of the suspects, police officers and other witnesses proved positive for cocaine.
He said the suspects voluntarily admitted importing, trafficking and possessing the cocaine they were arrested with.
“That the 1st (Kyari) to the 5th respondents are police officers who carried out the arrest of the 6th and 7th respondents and transferred them to NDLEA for further investigation.
He averred that their investigation revealed that Kyari (1st respondent), Ubia, James, Agirigba and Nuhu, who were police officers compromised the whole operation and “were involved in the importation, trafficking and dealing and also tampered with the recovered cocaine.
“That the 1st to 5th respondents were handed over upon a request by the applicant (NDLEA) to the Inspector-General of Police for investigation as regards their involvement in tampering and dealing with some of the cocaine recovered from the 6th to 7th respondent’s recovery of 21.8 kilograms of cocaine.
“That the 1st to 5th respondents have volunteered their statements upon preliminary investigation, which has shown complicity in the case. Copies of statements are hereby attached and marked Annexure NDLEA 4 4,5,6,7,8 & 9 respectively.”
Hussaini stated that the investigation would take some time as there are complicated dimensions of the case that require follow-up and unravelling.
“That the investigation is likely to extend to foreign countries, where some people linked to this trans-national drug trafficking activities reside.
“That it is in line with the above that the applicant is applying to the honourable court for a period of 14 days in the first instance to detain the respondents to enable it carry out its investigation successfully,” he said.
The officer noted that leave of the court was required to detain the respondents beyond the limit required by law, pending the conclusion of the investigation.
“That an order of this court is required to detain the respondents for 14 days in the first instance pending the conclusion of investigation of this case.
“That this investigation involves sister security agencies and thereby the agency has to collaborate and seek the assistance of the other sister security agencies to unravel the circumstances of this case,” he added.
Hussaini, who said that it was in the interest of justice to grant the application, said the respondents would not be prejudiced by the grant of the application.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that DCP Kyari had, through his lawyer, Cynthia Ikena, approached Justice Inyang Ekwo on Monday, praying the court to admit him to bail on health grounds.
Kyari, who was formerly the head of Inspector-General of Police Intelligence Response Team (IRT), had also filed an enforcement of fundamental rights suit over alleged unlawful arrest and detention.
He also demanded N500 million damages from the NDLEA for infringing on his fundamental rights.