A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has admitted the former Head of the Intelligence Response Team, Abba Kyari, to a N50 million bail in a charge filed against him and two others by the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA).
The NDLEA had filed the 24-count charge marked: FHC/ABJ/CR/408/2022 against Kyari and two of his siblings – Mohammed Baba Kyari and Ali Kyari – in respect of which they were arraigned last month.
Justice James Omotosho, in a ruling on Thursday, July 6, 2023, granted conditional bail to Abba Kyari at the sum of N50 million with two sureties in like sum.
Justice Omotosho also ordered that the sureties must have property worth N25 million each within the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), among other conditions.
The judge held that even when Kyari meets the bail conditions, the endorsement of his release warrant would be subject to development in a sister case pending before Justice Emeka Nwite in which he is being tried with four others on alleged drug deal.
Justice Omotosho said despite the Kuje prison jailbreak by terrorists on July 5, 2022, Kyari refused to escape where about 90 per cent of the inmates escaped freely.
The judge said NDLEA did not controvert the argument, adding that the failure to counter the submission was an admission by the anti-drug agency.
Justice Omotosho held that the offence with which he was being charged was a bailable one.
Kyari had been denied bail twice in the other case pending before Justice Nwite.
His two siblings were earlier granted bail by Justice Omotosho.
The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) had declared the former super cop wanted over his alleged involvement in a 25kg cocaine deal.
He was subsequently arrested and arraigned in court, which ordered his remand in Kuje Prison, Abuja.
The police had set up a panel to probe the conduct of the former head of the Intelligence Response Team (IRT) of the Inspector General of Police.
He was subsequently suspended from the force.
The NDLEA had alleged that Kyari and his men, unlawfully tampered with 21.25kilograms worth of cocaine that they seized from the two convicted drug traffickers- Chibunna Patrick Umeibe and Emeka Alphonsus Ezenwane- even as it also accused them of dealing in cocaine worth 17.55kg.
It alleged that the police officers committed the offence between January 19 and 25, 2022, at the office of Inspector-General of Police (IGP) IRT, Abuja, in connivance with one ASP John Umoru (now at large), contrary to section 14(b) of the NDLEA Act, CAP N30 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004.“The court had earlier denied the Defendant’s bail, even as it ordered their remand at Kuje Prison.
The NDLEA’s revelation came months after the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) indicted Kyari for conspiring with convicted fraudster and social media influencer, Ramon Abbas, popularly known as Hushpuppi, in a $1.1 million scam targeting Qatari business people.
Hushpuppi, who is known for his luxury life, was arrested in the UAE in June 2020 alongside 11 of his associates over allegations bordering on hacking, impersonation, scamming, banking fraud, and identity theft.
Daily Trust reported how Ramatu, wife of Kyari, collapsed at the lobby of the Federal High Court in Abuja, on March 14, 2022.
The incident occurred after the judge adjourned the suit till March 28, to decide on the bail applications.
On July 5, 2022, gunmen attacked the Kuje correctional facility and freed over 500 inmates, including suspected members of Boko Haram.
Although there were rumours that former top cop and other “high profile” inmates escaped, Abubakar Umar, spokesperson of the Nigerian Correctional Service (NCoS), denied the claim.
Moving a bail application at the court session, Kyari, through his lawyer, Onyechi Ikpeazu, told the court that he had the opportunity to escape but declined to do so.