A Federal High Court in Abuja has sentenced two drug traffickers, Chibunna Patrick Umeibe and Emeka Alphonsus Ezenwane, who were linked to the suspended Deputy Commissioner of Police, DCP, Abba Kyari, to six years imprisonment.
In a judgement that was delivered by trial Justice Emeka Nite, Umeibe and Ezenwanne were convicted on counts 5, 6 and 7 of the drug trafficking charge the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, preferred against them.
The duo were arrested at the Akanu Ibiam International Airport in Enugu while attempting to smuggle cocaine into the country. The were arraigned on March 7 before the court alongside DCP Kyari and four other police officers: ASP Bawa James, Insp. Simon Agirigba, ACP Sunday J. Ubia, and Insp. John Nuhu.
Upon their arraignment, both Umeibe and Ezenwanne pleaded guilty to the drug trafficking charge against them.
Justice Nwite had initially adjourned to review facts of the case against them. At the resumption of proceedings on Tuesday, the NDLEA, through the Director of its Legal Department, Sunday Joseph, informed the court that it has entered into a plea bargain agreement with the two defendants.
Joseph, therefore, persuaded the court to adopt the terms of the plea bargain deal as its judgement against the defendants. Consequently, Justice Nwite, in his judgement, convicted and sentenced the two defendants to two years jail term on each of the three-count charge against them.
However, the court, which noted that the two defendants were remorseful, held that the sentence would run concurrently, commencing from the date they were arrested.
In line with the plea bargain agreement, the court, okayed Umeibe and Ezenwanne to testify as witnesses in the trial of DCP Kyari and the other accused police officers in a case marked marked FHC/ABJ/57/2022, even as it ordered the NDLEA to ensure their safety in any Correctional Facility of their choice.
It directed the NDLEA to constantly watch the two defendants to ensure they do not engage in any drug related criminal activity while serving their jail term.
Justice Nwite subsequently fixed July 18, 19 and 20 for full trial of DCP Kyari and his men, as well as for hearing of their fresh application for bail.
The NDLEA had alleged that Kyari, who hitherto headed the Police Intelligence Response Team, IRT, and his men, unlawfully tampered with 21.25kilograms 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.
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