Two Civilians Charged With Abba Kyari Plead Guilty To Dealing In Drugs

Two civilians charged with suspended Deputy Commissioner of Police Abba Kyari and four other policemen – Chibunna Patrick Umeibe and Emeka Alphonsus Ezenwanne – have pleaded guilty to importing 21.35kilogrammes of cocaine.

 

Umeibe and Ezenwanne, who are charged in counts five, six and seven of the eight-count charge, pleaded guilty when the charge was read to them on Monday.

Two Civilians Charged With Abba Kyari Plead Guilty To Dealing In Drugs
Two Civilians Charged With Abba Kyari Plead Guilty To Dealing In Drugs

Umeibe, while pleading guilty, also prayed the court to have mercy on him.

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Other defendants in the case, DCP Abba Kyari, ACP Sunday J. Ubua, ASP Bawa James, Inspector Simon Agirgba, Inspector John Nuhu pleaded not guilty in respect of counts one, two, three, four and eight.

 

Meanwhile, a defence lawyer, to the civilians has defended their decision.

 

Mr E. U. Okenyi, who was present at the proceedings when the duo pleaded guilty to three of the eight charges at the Federal High Court in Abuja, said their decision was not based on ignorance.

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He said this while countering the submission by Mr Kyari’s lawyer, Kanu Agabi, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, that the duo’s guilty plea might jeopardise the rest of the defendants’ defence.

 

“I’m guilty, my Lord,” Messrs Umeibe and Ezenwanne said in their separate pleas to the three counts.
But Mr Kyari and the four other police officers pleaded not guilty to the eight-count charge.

 

Following Messrs Umeibe and Ezenwanne’s guilty plea, NDLEA’s lawyer, Joseph Sunday, urged the trial judge, Emeka Nwite, to order the review of facts of the case concerning the two defendants, to set the stage for their sentencing.

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But, in response, Mr Kyari’s lead lawyer, Kanu Agabi, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, objected to the prosecuting lawyer’s request.

 

Mr Agabi, a former Attorney-General of the Federation, argued that should the court convict and impose a sentence on the duo, it would “jeopardise” Mr Kyari and the other four defendants’ case.

 

“My Lord, convicting and sentencing these two defendants who have pleaded guilty to the charge will be prejudicial to our clients’ case,” Mr Agabi said.

 

He contended that Messrs Umeibe and Ezenwanne might have “pleaded guilty out of ignorance.”



However, counsel for the two defendants, Mr Okenyi, faulted Mr Agabi’s submissions concerning his clients’ admission of guilt.

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“My clients couldn’t have pleaded guilty to charges in which they are legally represented in court,” Mr Ukenyi said.

 

On his part, NDLEA’s lawyer, Joseph Sunday, also opposed Mr Agabi’s argument, saying the “conviction and sentencing of the two defendants” cannot be put in abeyance till the conclusion of the five remaining defendants’ trial.

 

“It will be unfair to defer the conviction and sentencing of the two defendants till the conclusion of the trial of the defendants,” Mr Sunday who heads the legal services department of the NDLEA told the court.

 

In his intervention, the trial judge directed both prosecuting and defence lawyers to address the court on points of law concerning their arguments.

 

Thereafter, Mr Nwite adjourned the suit till March 14 and 28, for the hearing of Mr Kyari’s and the remaining four defendants’ bail applications.

 

The judge will also take a review of the facts of the case to set the stage for the conviction and sentencing of Messrs Umeibe and Ezenwanne.

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