Posted by News Express | 18 June 2022 | 1,578 times
There is presently no love lost between the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) and the National Drug Law Enforcement (NDLEA) over the ongoing prosecution of the suspended Deputy Commissioner of Police, Abba Kyari and others.
An investigation carried out by PRNigeria shows that senior personnel in the Police are of the opinion that the NDLEA is trying to shield its personnel who were also allegedly involved in the drug scandal from arrest and prosecution.
Kyari, the hitherto celebrated super cop, was declared wanted and arrested in March this year by NDLEA operatives who also shared a video of him doing an illicit drug deal with an NDLEA agent on a sting operation.
He is now facing trial on drug-related offences and conspiracy alongside his alleged accomplices.
A top Police source who preferred anonymity however told PRNigeria that the Police hierarchy is not happy with the NDLEA'S alleged attempt to shield its operatives who were mentioned by arrested suspects in a viral video to have been collaborating with them in trafficking drugs in and out of Nigeria.
The two drug traffickers, Chibunna Patrick Umeibe and Emeka Alphonsus Ezenwanne arrested on January 19, 2022, by the Police Intelligence Response Team (IRT) Enugu and handed over to NDLEA, were sentenced to two years imprisonment for each of the three counts, which is to run concurrently by the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja.
In video clips obtained by PRNigeria, the convicted suspects had confessed how NDLEA officials stationed at the Akanu ibiam International Airport in Enugu assisted them in beating the airport security to import and also export cocaine and other forms of hard drugs.
In the clip, Umeibe and Ezenwanne, said NDLEA operatives are the ones that always 'clear' them at Nigerian airports whenever they want to travel abroad with drugs, or receive drugs into the country.
Why police authorities are aggrieved
Meanwhile, our top Police source claimed that the NDLEA forced the suspects to enter a plea bargain for soft sentencing while the bail application for Kyari and four others who pleaded not guilty will be heard on 17th July 2022.
“NDLEA operatives were accused of conniving with the two drug traffickers and others at large who usually used the Enugu Airport as a transit point to ship in heavy quantities of drugs from Brazil through Ethiopia to Nigeria,” the source claimed.
He continued: “The police handed the men's exhibit, drugs to the NDLEA with evidence of high-level connivance by its operatives while keeping records of visuals and recorded evidence of the interrogation undertaken on the two arrested drug traffickers of how they ‘settle’ NDLEA officers before passing with their drugs many times.
“Following the discovery made by the police, the NDLEA quickly indicted the same policemen who arrested the drug traffickers alleging that some of the drugs were tempered with and charged the Police officers to court together with the very drug traffickers they arrested and transferred to NDLEA on the same charge sheet.
“The NDLEA tactically excluded its indicted officers in Enugu in the charge. They also deliberately refused to go after the main drug barons mentioned by the arrested drug traffickers and also refused to declare them wanted notwithstanding that their details were given by the arrested drug traffickers.”
On the issue of the plea bargain, the Senior Police Officer said: "The NDLEA separately secured a plea bargain with the two suspects the police arrested with the drugs, enabling them to enter a plea deal, which secured an easy guilty verdict and light sentence which will run for only two years.
“The agency quickly entered into the plea bargain and got a light sentence for the drug traffickers so as to avoid cross-examinations and a full trial, that will expose NDLEA operatives already mentioned and indicted by same now convicted suspects.
“The NDLEA operatives suspected to be involved in the scandal in Enugu have been reposted to various offices to avoid prying eyes. No, any action was taken against the NDLEA officers that collected bribes to release the drug traffickers in Enugu Airport while the policemen that arrested the same drug traffickers and transferred them to NDLEA are being persecuted by the same organisation that shielded her officers from arrest and prosecution,” he alleged.
It’s all blackmail, our officers not involved in Kyari drug scandal – NDLEA Source
A reliable source in the NDLEA has however denied the above allegations, saying it is an attempt by the main suspect and his people to blackmail the agency.
The official who spoke to PRNigeria questioned the motive and timing of the release of the video which he called an old video, saying the people behind it should have raised the matter in court before the two suspects were convicted and sentenced.
He added that “rather than using the media to spread falsehood, the principal suspect himself (Abba Kyari) should raise the matter when his own trial comes up in court.”
“The video was prepared a long time ago and we did a statement on it around March. It was meant to blackmail the agency and discredit the investigation.
“What happened was that they were taken by surprise by what happened yesterday (Tuesday) and that is why they are releasing this video again. They had gone to Appeal Court to stall the case to stop us from presenting the facts. They didn’t know we had a joker for them. If we had followed their line, the case would have been stalled. But we had a joker for them and the joker played out very well in court when the two suspects pleaded guilty under a plea bargain arrangement.
“The whole idea behind the video ab initio was to blackmail the agency to drop the investigation. They knew those guys would be our principal witnesses and they made them do all that under duress. The trial of the main suspect will commence in three weeks or so from 18-20th of July for three consecutive days. Everybody should wait till that time and come and make all these cases. They should ask those guys in court whether they actually said all that.
“We got the intelligence that he was planning this video to force the hand of the agency, that was why we declared him wanted. They now released it on the day he was arrested,” the source said.
Accusing Kyari of being behind the “blackmail”, the NDLEA source said: “Why is it that a day after his co-defendants were sentenced that they are coming up with this again instead of mentioning it in court? Kyari himself is behind all these. That is because he is up to some form of mischief.
“If they are sure of what they are saying, they should bring it up in court. You are in for it, you are in for it already. This matter was thoroughly investigated and we issued a comprehensive statement as far back as March.
“If you were sure the NDLEA officials were guilty, why didn’t you arrest them?” he asked.
Asked if any NDLEA official has been investigated or arrested for the scandal, the source replied with an emphatic No.
“If there is anything like that (NDLEA official being involved), they should bring it up in court. You can mention that so, so and so NDLEA officials were involved but were never brought to book.
“The media can now report it that time instead of using the media now to claim what is not true,” the source concluded. (PRNigeria)
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