Justice Emeka Nwaite of the Federal High Court, Abuja, yesterday, heard what transpired on the night, insurgents attacked the Kuje Correctional Facility in Abuja, where the embattled Deputy Commissioner of Police(DCP)Abba Kyari is being held.
The suspended DCP and his co-defendants are facing drug trafficking charge, bordering on unlawful tampering 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.
Narrating the attack, which occured on July 5, and led to the escape of about 879 inmates, including all 68 imprisoned Boko Haram members, Kyari told the court that he hid himself like a rat…Continue Reading
According to him, the attackers who later identified as members of the Islamic State West Africa Province, ISWAP, a breakaway faction of the Boko Haram terrorist sect, opened all the gates and forced inmates to escape.
The DCP, however, told the court that he declined to run away, along with four other members of the Police Intelligence Response Team, IRT, that were also remanded with him.
Speaking through his counsel, Dr. Onyechi Ikpeazu(SAN) posited that the prison incident should warrant the court to release him and his men on bail, pending the determination of the charge the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency(NDLEA), preferred against them.
Onyechi said; “My lord, every living soul in this country will agree that there was not just a breach, but that there was a grand terrorist attack by an organization that not only successfully invaded the Kuje Prison, but took control of it for over three hours.However, the applicant, being a law-abiding citizen, refused to take off.
“If there is any thing to establish that the defendants will not jump bail, it was that circumstance.
“The gates of the prison were left open for over three hours. Infact, the Defendant hid like a rat, because the organization that conducted the attack went from cell to cell, saying they want to take him and the others to the desert.
“I don’t know where else in the world, where certified crime fighters that have endangered their lives and abandoned their families to serve the country, are kept in the same cubicle, with same criminals they made their arrest possible, with some of them facing death penalty.
“These people have suffered. They are traumatised by the events of that night. You can imagine what it felt like, witnessing the attackers planting explosives everywhere in the prison.”
Pressing further Ikpeazu submitted that the defendants, having been suspended by the police and in detention for over five months, do not have the capacity to interfere with witnesses the NDLEA intend to produce against them.
“They cannot even have access to the two convicts that are presently under the protection of the powerful prison service.
“Moreover, there is constitutional presumption of innocence in favour of the defendants,” Ikpeazu added.
Therefore, he prayed the court to ignore NDLEA’s contention that Kyari and his men are being investigated over their alleged complicity in money laundering.
Responding, the NDLEA, through its Director of Legal Services, Mr. Sunday Joseph, urged the court to refuse the Defendants’ fresh request for bail.
He maintained that there was no evidence to prove that Kyari and his men are being confined with criminals, adding however that under the rule of law, no inmate ought to be accorded any preferential treatment.
He further argued that nothing was placed before the court to warrant the reconsideration of earlier ruling of the court that denied the defendants bail.
“We therefore urge your lordship to refuse the application,”he avarred.
At this juncture, the court adjourned till August 30 for ruling on the fresh bail application.