Court strikes out NDLEA’s application to detain Abba Kyari, others

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*Kyari *

A Federal High Court, Abuja, on Tuesday, struck out the motion filed by the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) to further detain suspended DCP Abba Kyari and six others for 14 days.

Justice Zainab Abubakar struck out the application after counsel to the NDLEC, S. S. Obot, informed the court that the order granted by the court had been overtaken by events.

Obot said that Kyari, formerly the head of Inspector General of Police Intelligence Response Team (IRT), alongside six other defendants, was arraigned on eight-count charge before a sister court, presided over by Justice Emeka Nwite on Monday.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that after Kyari and the four IRT officers pleaded not guilty to all the counts preferred against them, the court ordered them, including the two others, to be remanded in NDLEA custody.

Meanwhile, after Obot’s application was not opposed to by the defence counsel, Justice Abubakar struck it out. NAN also reports that Abubakar had, on Feb. 22, granted permission to the NDLEA to further detain Kyari for 14 days, pending conclusion of investigation.

The judge granted the order after the Director, Prosecution and Legal Services of the agency, 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 for an order granting leave to the NDLEA for the detention of the suspects in its custody pending the conclusion of investigation. It also sought for “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 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 counties, where some people linked to this trans-national drug trafficking activities reside,” among others.

His application for bail was, on Feb. 28, turned down by a sister court, presided over by Justice Inyang Ekwo, on the grounds that a court of coordinate justification had already granted an order for his further detention.

But Ekwo, who said that he was inclined to hear Kyari’s fundamental enforcement rights suit with the urgency it deserves after the expiration of the 14-day court order, fixed March 15 to hear Kyari’s application.

NAN reports that Kyari, earlier through his lawyer, had, on Feb. 21, approached the court with an ex-parte motion and originating summons seeking for a bail and asking the court to enforce his fundamental human rights which he alleged had been breached by the unlawful arrest and detention.

He said that the allegations preferred against him were trump-up and baseless. Kyari, in the main suit, urged the court to make an order directing the NDLEA to pay him N500 million for infringing on his rights. He also asked the court to direct the agency to tender a public apology in national dailies. The suspended DCP had also challenged the order made on Feb. 22 by Justice Abubakar, empowering the NDLEA to detain him for more days.

In an application filed by his counsel before Abubakar, Kyari had prayed the court to set aside the order for his detention, arguing that the order was issued without him being accorded a fair hearing.(NAN

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