From Godwin Tsa, Abuja
The suspended Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP), Abba Kyari, has filed a fresh bail application pending his trial in the wake of the terrorist attack on the Kuje Correctional Centre.
Kyari, who is facing drug trafficking charges, predicated his application on safety grounds.
Justice Emeka Nwite has fixed Wednesday to hear the bail application.
In like manner, three other police officers are equally on trial over the alleged offences – ACP Sunday J. Ubia, Insp. Simon Agirigba and Insp. John Nuhu – also prayed the court to okay their release on bail on similar grounds.
However, the 3rd defendant, Bawa James, an Assistant Superintendent of Police, ASP, did not join them in the application.
Kyari’s counsel, Ikpeazu, said his client’s fresh application became necessary, considering the nature of assignments he undertook while performing his duties as a police officer.
Ikpeazu submitted that some of the inmates on remand at the Kuje Correctional Centre were people that Kyari’s team at the Police IRT, made their arrest possible.
This came as the NDLEA, through its Director of Legal Services, Mr Sunday Joseph, opened its case against Kyari and his co-defendants after urging the court to refuse their fresh request for bail.
Meanwhile, the NDLEA on Monday opened its case against the Defendants by presenting its first witness before the court.
The first prosecution witness, Mrs Patricia Afolabi, a Commander of Narcotics attached to the forensic unit of the agency, told the court that part of her job specification involves receiving and conducting forensic analysis on drug exhibits.
She told the court that she had on February 7, received from the forensic liaison officer of the agency, Abubakar Aliyu, one sealed transparent evidence pack that contained 24 dispensing packs each.
The PW1 said each of the parks contained a white substance measured at 0.5grams. She said the package also contained a request form for analysis.
“From the analysis I conducted, which I labelled exhibit A-X, I found out that 21 of the exhibits contained cocaine, while exhibits H to G were found to be negative.
“I then issued an analysis report of my findings, which I signed and sealed. I repacked them as exhibits in a large envelope and addressed it to the officer in charge at NDLEA Abuja”, the witness stated.
Read also: Police re-arrest suspected Kuje prison escapee in Kaduna
Trial Justice Emeka Nwite admitted all the exhibits in evidence without objection from the Defendants.
Under cross-examination by counsel to Kyari, the witness said it was not true that every suspect in a drug deal must be present before such analysis could be conducted.
Afolabi said it was not customary that all suspects would be present when substances are also handed over for analysis.
She added: “I was not present when the drug was recovered. I was not present when NDLEA received it”.
The witness confirmed that NDLEA operatives are stationed at all entry points in Nigeria, including at the Akanu Ibiam International Airport in Enugu.
Asked if she knew if it was NDLEA that recovered the cocaine at the Airport in Enugu, the witness, said she was not aware.
“I don’t know who recovered the substance. I did not come in contact with any of them”, she added.
Meanwhile, the court has adjourned further cross-examination of the witness to Tuesday.
“Contact with any of them”, she added.
The court adjourned further cross-examination of the witness till Tuesday.
The NDLEA alleged that Kyari and his men, unlawfully tampered with 21.25kilograms worth of cocaine that they seized from two apprehended drug traffickers- Chibunna Patrick Umeibe and Emeka Alphonsus Ezenwane, even as it also accused them of dealing in cocaine worth 17.55kg.
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.