The suspended Nigeria’s super cop, Abba Kyari alongside other defendants standing drug-related trials were tried behind closed doors today.
News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) had earlier reported that journalists were restrained from covering the trial of Kyari and his co-defendants, following the NDLEA’s application to the effect.
National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), would later give reason for resorting to a closed door trial.
Counsel for the NDLEA, Sunday Joseph, told newsmen witnesses brought to court were undercover witnesses who needed to be protected. Hence, the closed door trial.
His words: “You see, some of these trials where there are security concerns and then we agreed among the lawyers; both myself and the defendants.
“These are class of witnesses that needed to be protected; they are undercover witnesses.”
WHAT HAPPENED BEHIND DOORS
Joseph, a director of Legal and Prosecution Department of the NDLEA, said the testimony of an additional witness was taken.
The lawyer said bank documents he sought to be tendered as exhibits were opposed to by the defendants and he responded.
“So ruling of the court is reserved on the admissibility of the evidence we sought to tender to 9 June,” he said.
Michael Mbanefo, lawyer to the 3rd defendant (ASP Bawa James), also told newsmen that evidence of one of the witnesses was taken “but it was scuttled by the documents they wanted to tender which we opposed vehemently. So the case was adjourned for ruling.”
Besides, other lawyers, whose matters were listed on the cause list, were also directed to leave the courtroom for Kyari’s case.
Shortly after the NDLEA’s lawyer made the application, Justice Nwite stood down the hearing to allow lawyers, litigants, visitors, including the journalists move out of the courtroom.
The registrar then announced to lawyers ,who had no business in Kyari’s case, to step forward and take another date for their cases.
The development generated provocation from lawyers who waited until the judge reconvened.
When Justice Nwite sat to commence proceeding, one of the lawyers, Emmanuel Oluwabiyi, whose case was on number 11 on the cause list, told Nwite that he was in the court for his matter.
Oluwabiyi said he observed that before the judge rose, counsel for the NDLEA made an application.
“I understand that it was directed that everybody in the courtroom should step out because of the instant matter. The bar is also meant to be vacated.
“The feedback I am getting is that when this matter is going to be made, no lawyer should be in
“I am embarrassed by the application my lord,” he said.
Another lawyer, Ramiah Imhanaede, also aligned with Oluwabiyi’s submission.
Justice Nwite then pleaded with lawyers who were not in the Kyari’s matter to bear with the court in the interim.
He said their matters too would be heard as soon as hearing was over.
HOW KYARI WENT FROM SUPER COP TO AN INMATE
Kyari, a Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) and former Head of the Intelligence Response Team (IRT) of the Inspector General of Police, was arrested in February 2022 for “trying” to strike a drug deal with officers of NDLEA.
Other suspects (police officers) nabbed in connection with the crime — ACP Sunday J. Ubia, ASP Bawa James, Inspector Simon Agirigba and Inspector John Nuhu —were said to have seized 21.8 kilograms from two convicts.
After they were exposed, the police suspended Kyari and the other officers pending the hearing and determination of the matter, of alleged compromise.
They were arraigned alongside Chibunna Umeibe and Emeka Ezenwanne, who conspired with some other persons (now at large), to trafficked the hard drugs into the country.
Umeibe and Ezenwanne were said to have been arrested at the Akanu Ibiam International Airport in Enugu by the Inspector General of Police (IGP)’s Intelligence Response Team (IRT) led by Kyari based on their suspicious trafficking in hard drugs.
The convicts, though, pleaded guilty and they were sentenced to two years imprisonment.
It said each kg of seized cocaine was worth N7million, with Kyari initially trying to do deals with 15kg, and susequently 20kg (worth N140million), of the seized item, according to FIJ.
Femi Babafemi, NDLEA’s Director of Media and Advocacy, said NDLEA officials played along with Kyari up till the point where the drugs and the suspects were delivered to the agency.
A video of Kyari attempting to bribe an NDLEA official was subsequently released.
The suspects were subsequently brought to Abuja and handed over to the NDLEA for further investigation.