Abba Kyari, suspended deputy commissioner of police (DCP), has asked a federal high court in Abuja not to remand him in prison.
It was gathered that Kyari was on Monday, arraigned alongside Sunday J Ubia, Bawa James, Simon Agirigba and John Nuhu who are members of the police Intelligence Response Team (IRT).
Others are Chibunna Patrick Umeibe and Emeka Alphonsus Ezenwanne — two alleged drug traffickers who were arrested at Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu.
In the charge marked FHC/ABJ/57/2022, the agency accused the defendants of conspiracy, obstruction and dealing in cocaine worth 17.55 kilograms.
Upon arraignment on Monday, Kyari and four other defendants pleaded not guilty.
However, the sixth and seventh defendants pleaded guilty and begged the court to “have mercy”.
Kyari through his lawyer, Kanu Agabi, prayed the court to allow him to remain in the custody of the NDLEA pending the hearing and determination of his fresh application for bail.
While noting that the application has been filed and served on all parties, Agabi said the offences against his clients (Kyari and Ubua) are bailable.
“We appeal that they be kept in NDLEA custody until the bail is heard. They lose nothing if they do that,” Agabi said.
The NDLEA lawyer did not oppose the request that the defendants continue to stay in the custody of the agency.
But the bail application was not heard because not all processes were before the court.
Shortly after the defendants entered their plea, the NDLEA, through its director of prosecution & legal services, Joseph Sunday, applied for a trial date and for the review of facts in respect of the defendants that pleaded guilty to the charge.
However, Agabi, opposed the submission of the prosecution that the case of the sixth and seventh defendants be reviewed and discharged owing to their guilty plea.
He said it will be prejudicial to his client if the facts of the case are reviewed and a decision is reached on it while the trial is still subsisting.
“It is not in the interest of justice for the facts to be reviewed while the trial is still ongoing,” he added.
He said both Umeibe and Ezenwanne (sixth and seventh) were mentioned in some counts in the charge that involved Kyari and the others.
On his part, the prosecution maintained that reviewing the facts of the case would not prejudice DCP Kyari and the others.
Sunday said the plea of guilt of some of the defendants does not rub off on the others.
“My lord, this sort of application by the defence is to undermine the capacity of this court,” he said.
“This case to be considered on the basis of evidence before the court. I do not see how the first to fifth defendants will be prejudiced since we are going to confront them with evidence against them”
“The most proper thing is to dispose the case against the sixth and seventh defendants.
“It will be unjust and unfair to keep the two defendants in custody while waiting for conclusion of the trial of the others.
“It is better for them to be convicted to enable them to start serving their sentence.”
After he listened to oral arguments from both sides, Emeka Nwite, the judge, said he would want the parties to formally address the court on the issue on March 28.
The judge ordered that the defendants continue their detention in NDLEA custody pending hearing of the bail application on March 14.