On Thursday, a Federal High Court in Abuja allowed a request by the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency’s (NDLEA) to review the facts of two defendants who pled guilty in the ongoing trial of suspended DCP Abba Kyari and others for alleged cocaine trafficking.
In a judgement, Justice Emeka Nwite overruled Kyari’s and other co-defendant officers’ concern that granting the request would jeopardise their case.
Chibunna Umeibe and Emeka Ezenwanne, who are the 6th and 7th accused in the case, are the two defendants.
They are the two alleged drug traffickers who pled guilty to five, six, and seven counts brought against them by the anti-narcotics agency at the Akanu Ibiam International Airport in Enugu.
The judge agreed with the NDLEA and attorneys for Umeibe and Ezenwanne that the objectors had not provided enough evidence to show how they would be harmed if the court approved the request.
Justice Nwite agreed with the contention that detaining Umeibe and Ezenwanne in prison while the other defendants were being tried was infringing on their right to a fair trial under Section 36(4) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).
He found the argument to be without merit and ordered the NDLEA to begin reviewing the facts of the 6th and 7th defendants’ cases.
Nwite then rescheduled the hearing for May 26 to allow for a review of the facts and a hearing on the move-on notice.
On March 7, Umeibe and Ezenwanne, as well as Kyari, ACP Sunday Ubia, ASP Bawa James, Insp. Simon Agirigba, and Insp. John Nuhu, were charged with eight charges by the NDLEA.
They were the suspended officers of Kyari’s old Intelligence Response Team (IRT) Unit.
They had pleaded not guilty to all of the charges that had been brought against them.
Despite the fact that Umeibe and Ezenwanne’s names appeared in counts three and four, where conspiracy allegations were levelled against Kyari and others, they were not asked to enter a plea on these two counts.