A group called Center for Democracy and Human Rights (CEDEHUR) has raised the alarm over the continuous detention of former head of the Intelligent Response Team (IRT) Abba Kyari and his men while the drug traffickers they arrested have been released.
The group raised the alarm on Tuesday during the world press briefing in Abuja.
Addressing newsmen, the spokesman of the group, Adebayo Lion Ogorry, alleged that their release has ended any notion of the ear against drug trafficking especially as they got their freedom through ridiculous plea bargain and spent less than two years in prison.
It could be recalled the IRT had arrested Chibunna Patrick Umeibe and Emeka Alphonsus Ezenwanne, at the car park of the Akanu Ibiam International Airport in Enugu on 19/1/2022 where they were handed over to the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA.
The men were arrested with over 21kg of cocaine which according to their confession was trafficked from Brazil and they picked it up from Ethiopia to Nigeria.
However, the NDLEA alleged that the drugs were tampered with and arrested the police officers under IRT,.charged both the drug traffickers and the policemen on the same charge sheet before the federal high Court in Abuja.
Last week Friday, the two drug traffickers were released while the policemen are still in detention without bail.
The group decried, accusing the Buba Marwa-led NDLEA of protecting drug barons and fighting the policemen who were fighting them.
In the statement delivered at the press briefing, Ogorry said after the drug traffickers were handed over to the NDLEA, “One would have expected that the NDLEA would appreciate the routine arrest and handover of arrested drug traffickers but things changed when the agency went full throttle to Organised a set up, indicted the police officers that arrested these two drug traffickers and transferred to them.
“The NDLEA went on a media frenzy falsely linking DCP Abba Kyari, ACP Sunday Ubua to drug cartels and also alleging some parts of the drugs they arrested and transferred to NDLEA were tampered with. The Police officers who arrested the International drug traffickers were eventually maliciously charged to court alongside Chibuinna Patrick Umeibe and Emeka Alphonsus Ezenwanne as co-defendants when the allegations were different.
“It left much to be desired that these police officers were charged on the same charge sheet with the drug traffickers they arrested and Voluntarily transferred to NDLEA but the details of that is left for the court to decide,” he stated.
The group said their justification for the press conference and kick against the antics of the NDLEA was informed by their personal experience as their father had been a victim of insecurity and the IRT under Kyari rose to the occasion to free him.
“It will also interest you all to know that, my father, Mr Sunday Emaluji was kidnapped in Kaduna and held hostage for days by kidnappers who demanded ransom of N50m. It took the intervention of DCP Abba Kyari and his IRT to secure his release, just the same way they have risen to the occasions of kidnapping all over the country over the years.
“The list is endless when it comes to the number of kidnappings, Terrorism and other serious crimes Kyari and the IRT team have stepped into to rescue.
“Need we remind the public that the IRT team led by Kyari successfully arrested the gang that kidnapped and killed Late Col. Yunusa in Kaduna, the gang that kidnapped Ambassador Bagudu Hirse, close to the resident of Mamman Daura in Kaduna, same gang kidnapped Dr. Abdul Malik Durunguwa and his wife, member of the Kaduna state house of assembly and many more.
“They also brought down Chibuike aka Vampire, one of the deadliest kidnappers in the south East who was earlier rescued from a State High Court in Owerri by his men in an operation that claimed the lives of eight (8) persons in the Court premises including correctional officers.
“They arrested the Billionaire kidnapper, Chukwudidume Onwuamadike aka Evans who reigned terror in Lagos, forcing many Billionaire Igbo businessmen to abandon their homes in Festac and environs for fear of him.”
He said the trial of the drug traffickers left much to be desired. “We uncovered a shocking act that revealed something sinister,” during the court trial of the drug traffickers. “One, the Big drug barons that both Umeibe and Ezenwanne mentioned as their sponsors were not declared wanted nor arrested. There was no mention of them.
“Again, the drug traffickers were goaded into accepting a plea bargain in order to testify against the police officers and also stop indicting NDLEA as they did while they were with the Police. That was why the drug traffickers were charged alongside the police officers as co-defendants instead of separately because the NDLEA allegations were different. This goes to show the malicious vandetta of the NDLEA against the Police Officers and your guess is as good as mine.
“Eventually, because the stage was prepared to shield the drug barons, both Umeibe and Ezenwanne were sentenced to two years in prison beginning from the day of their arrest as a result of a ridiculous plea bargain against the interest of Nigeria but aimed at shielding indicted NDLEA Officers.
“We also have been following the trial of the policemen and we are puzzled that a sister agency out of vendetta could deploy state machinery and resources to punish security agents that arrested and handed over these international drug traffickers to them and allowed the same Drug Traffickers to be regain freedom in 16 months to Continue their Drug business.
“We found out during one of the hearings of the case that, contrary to the NDLEA’s claim that policemen were involved in international drug trafficking, it was clearly established in court that Kyari and the IRT were not. The allegation which the court would determine was a smoke screen to embark on a media trial and conceal the real drug barons.”
CEDEHUR demands that, “The president or the presidency should immediately set up a committee to investigate the activities of the NDLEA and drug traffickers under Gen Buba Marwa(rtd) especially in this case were clearly indicted NDLEA officers were shielded and many other NDLEA officers including One Sunday Zirandi Director of intelligence who was indicted by Ex NDLEA officer for Connivance with drug barons, Diversions of recovered drugs, Murder case among others. We state that the ex-NDLEA officer has filed a case in court that is pending before the industrial court. The matter was in the media severally 2022 and if found guilty or wanted he should be appropriately Sanctioned and all indicted officers should face the full wrath of the Law.
“It is legally and morally wrong to detain these IRT officers for 15 months without bail while the International drug traffickers the Police IRT arrested and Voluntarily transferred to NDLEA are now free, Thanks to ridiculous and compromised Plea Bargain that make them got 16months in Prisonment instead of 28 years. Therefore the Police Officers should be granted bail forthwith as the alleged offence for which they are charged with are bailable and the real criminals have been released already.
“These IRT officers are not flight risks if granted bail considering the fact that they refused to escape when the Kuje prison was attacked by terrorists and over 900 prisoners escaped freely that night.
“The security situation in Nigeria today especially relating to kidnapping and terrorism has worsened with the continued detention of the IRT team, therefore they should be released to continue the fight against kidnappers and terrorism as National Security of this Country is paramount.
“That two prominent Billionaire drug barons arrested in Lagos who were allegedly involved with massive drug importation worth over 22 billion naira and 8.9 Billion naira respectively as announced by NDLEA press releases in 2022 namely Mallison Ukatu and Chief Ugoh were arrested by the NDLEA and were later released after a few months in detention and happily went home and reunited with their families and even did Thanksgiving in church, Is it that Billionaire Drug Barons are more important and can be given soft landing but not Officers who arrest Drug traffickers and refused to compromise and transferred the suspect to NDLEA?
“The Big drug barons shielded by NDLEA that the convicted international drug traffickers mentioned in their confession and statements as sponsors and also responsible for Settling the NDLEA officers in the Airport and sending the pictures of the incoming drug traffickers to NDLEA officers before their Arrival with the heavy Drugs should be arrested, investigated and Prosecuted by a Neutral agency like the DSS immediately.
“Finally, all this should be done before the inauguration of the new government on the 29th of May as it won’t be proper and healthy for Nigeria to take off on its new journey with a compromised NDLEA leading the fight against drug traffickers and hard drugs in Nigeria,” the group demanded.