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Abba Kyari, six others pleaded not guilty



Abba Kyari

The suspended Deputy Commissioner of Police, Abba Kyari has pleaded not guilty to the eight charges preferred against him by the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA).

Kyari told Justice Emeka Nwite of a Federal High Court, Abuja, on Monday, following his arraignment, alongside six others, on allegations bordering on drug trafficking.

In the charge filed by Joseph Sunday, its director of prosecution and legal services, the NDLEA accused Kyari and six other defendants of conspiracy, obstruction, and dealing in cocaine worth 17.55 kilograms.

Four of the defendants are police officers who are members of the Police Intelligence Response Team (IRT). They are; Sunday Ubia, Bawa James, Simon Agirigba and John Nuhu.

Other defendants include Chibunna Patrick Umeibe and Emeka Alphonsus Ezenwanne who were arrested at Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu

While 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 sixth and seventh defendants respectively, pleaded guilty to counts five, six and seven preferred against them.

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 and Ezenwanne who pleaded guilty to 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, 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.

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-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 of the time of filing the report.

Justice Zainab Abubakar of the Federal High Court had, on February 22, given the NDLEA the go-ahead to detain Kyari and six others in custody for another 14 days to conclude its investigation.

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