THE Nigerian Correctional Service (NCoS) has debunked the claim by the suspended Deputy Commissioner of Police, Abba Kyari, that his life is in danger at Kuje Prison.
Kyari, who is facing a drug trafficking charge, on Thursday, begged the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja to release him on bail, alleging a threat to his life.
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Kyari and three of his co-defendants, through their counsel, urged Justice Emeka Nwite to admit them to bail because, according to them, they are not safe in the Kuje custodial centre.
Kyari’s lawyer Onyechi Ikpeazu (SAN), in a fresh application, asked the court to reconsider the request his client earlier made for bail pending the determination of the charge against him.
Ikpeazu said this became necessary, considering the nature of his assignments while performing his duties as a police officer.
But in a statement signed by its spokesperson Francis Enobore, the Nigerian Correctional Service (NCoS) on Sunday said it is not true that Kyari was in danger.
The NCoS affirmed that the former head of the Intelligent Response Team (IRT) was safe in their custody.
Parts of the statement read, “The attention of the authorities of the Nigerian Correctional Service (NCoS) has been drawn to a publication by an online media organisation alleging that Abba Kyari, an inmate in one of the custodial centres, was attacked by his fellow inmates.
“The fake news peddler further stated that the authorities of the Service were considering transferring Abba Kyari to SSS custody.
“The story is false, reckless and mischievous. It is the handiwork of some jobless cheap recognition-seeking charlatans masquerading as newsmen, lacking in intellectual capacity to interrogate what they conjure or hear before feeding the public.
“For the record, Abba Kyari is one of the over 800 inmates in the location where he is being kept and notable individuals including ex-Governors, Ministers, Senators and other celebrities of higher social status have passed through the same facility without any threat to their lives.”
The NCoS said it has no reason to request for the transfer of Abba Kyari or, indeed, any inmate to any other detention centre outside its jurisdiction because there is no justification for such relocation.
The statement added that Kyari is safe and sound and goes about his daily routine like any other inmate, unharmed.
The agency warned those playing pranks with his detention to desist from such unpatriotic acts as they may be asked, through formal litigation, to justify their statement.
Aside from Kyari, three other police officers equally on trial over the alleged offence are Sunday J. Ubia, Simon Agirigba and John Nuhu.
They all begged the court to allow their release on bail on safety grounds.
However, the 3rd defendant in the matter, Bawa James, did not join them in the application.
Meanwhile, counsel for the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) Sunday Joseph, urged the court to refuse the bail request by the defendants.
The prosecution counsel maintained that the matter was initially slated to review facts of the case relating to two self-confessed drug traffickers, Chibunna Patrick Umeibe and Emeka Alphonsus Ezenwane, who were linked to the suspended Kyari.
Both Umeibe and Ezenwanne, who were cited as 6th and 7th defendants in the charge marked FHC/ABJ/57/2022, were arrested at the Akanu Ibiam International Airport Enugu while attempting to smuggle cocaine into the country.
On March 7, when they were arraigned alongside Kyari, they had pleaded guilty to the drug trafficking charge.
In a ruling it delivered earlier in March, the court had dismissed Kyari’s objections and held that it would go ahead to review the facts of the case against Umeibe and Ezenwanne.
At the resumed proceedings on the matter on Thursday, Kyari and his police co-defendants said they had gone to the Court of Appeal to challenge the ruling.
They further filed a motion for the court to temporarily halt the trial to await the outcome of the appeal on an application opposed by the prosecution, which accused the defendants of attempting to stay proceeding in a criminal matter.
Justice Emeka Nwite adjourned the case till June 14 to hear the defendants’ fresh application for bail.
The NDLEA had alleged that Kyari and his men unlawfully tampered with 21.25 kilograms worth of cocaine that they seized from the two apprehended drug traffickers, even as it also accused them of dealing in cocaine worth 17.55kg.
Kyari and his men were remanded at the Kuje Correctional Center, while Umeibe and Ezenwanne were remanded at the Suleja Correctional Center.
A reporter with the ICIR
A Journalist with a niche for quality and a promoter of good governance