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Court rules on Abba Kyari’s objection to his trial March 22

Abba Kyari

By Andrew Orolua

The Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, on Wednesday, reserved ruling on preliminary objection filed by the detained Deputy Commissioner of Police, DCP, Abba Kyari who is challenging his trial on drug trafficking charge.

Justice Emeka Nwite reserved ruling till March 22, 2023 after DCP Kyari’s lawyer, Nuremi Jimoh,

SAN, Gbeyinga Oyewole, SAN, counsel to the 2nd defendant ACP Sunday J. Ubia and prosecution counsel, Sunday Joseph made their submission on the merit and demerit of the application.

DCP Abba Kyari, the former head of the office of Inspector-General of Police (IGP-IRT) and ACP Sunday J. Ubia had brought the preliminary objection against the eight count criminal charge, insisting that their trial is premature .

They claimed in their objections that as serving police officers they ought to have been tried by the Police Service Commission (PSC), who has disciplinary control over them.

Three other defendants: ASP Bawa James, Insp. Simon Agirigba and Insp. John Nuhu did not raised any objection to the triala.

Arguing the preliminary objection, Jimoh SAN, prayed the court to strike out the criminal charge as the power to discipline the police officers lies with Police Service Commission.

According to him, the provisions of Police Service Commission and NDLEA acts cannot override the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999, as amended.

Gbeyinga Oyewole SAN, adopted the submission of Jimoh for the 2nd defendant ACP Ubia.

But the prosecution counsel Sunday Joseph prayed the court to dismiss the preliminary objection for lack of merit. He said that the police officers are facing criminal charge and it is not a disciplinary matter.

He said that Police Act didn’t prohibited the prosecution of police officers who violate law and committed criminal offences. The defendants were charged with tempering with drugs. He added that if it were mere disciplinary matter the Police authorities would not have handed them over to NDLEA for prosecution.

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Joseph urged the court to dismiss the preliminary objection and proceed with the defendant’s trial.

National Drugs Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) had alleged in the charge that Kyari and his men, unlawfully tampered with 21.25kilograms of cocaine that they seized from the two convicted drug traffickers- Chibunna Patrick Umeibe and Emeka Alphonsus Ezenwane- even as it also accused them of dealing in cocaine worth 17.55kg.

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.

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