By Kenneth Atavti
Federal High Court in Abuja, yesterday dismissed a bail application filed by ASP Bawa James, a co-defendant in the alleged drug trafficking case preferred against suspended DCP Abba Kyari and others.
Justice Emeka Nwite in a ruling held that the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) had succeeded in proving its argument beyond doubt why the court should not admit James to bail.
Justice Nwite had on March 28, 2022 fixed yesterday for ruling on bail application filed by James after Kyari and other co-defendants’ bail pleas were rejected on the grounds that James’ application was not ripe for hearing.
The NDLEA had, on March 7, 2022 arraigned Kyari (1st defendant) and six others on allegations bordering on a cocaine deal.
He was arraigned alongside four suspended police officers including ACP Sunday Ubia, ASP James, Insp. Simon Agirigba and Insp. John Nuhu as 2nd to 5th defendants respectively.
Also arraigned with them are Chibunna Umeibe and Emeka Ezenwanne, the two alleged drug traffickers who were arrested at the Akanu Ibiam International Airport in Enugu.
Although the five officers pleaded not guilty to all the charges against them, Umeibe and Ezenwanne, who are 6th and 7th defendants respectively, pleaded guilty to five, six and seven counts preferred against them.
Ruling, the judge aligned with the argument of counsel for NDLEA, Joseph Sunday, that James (3rd defendant) was a flight risk and that he might jump bail.
Justice Nwite said that the 3rd defendant had failed to bring up strong evidence to challenge the anti-narcotic agency’s submission that the character of evidence against him was very serious.
He said though the defence argued that the court had the discretionary power to rule in favour of the applicant since the offence was a bailable one, he was mindful to consider the submission of the prosecution.
The judge, therefore, refused to grant James bail and adjourned the matter until May 26, 2022.
Nigerian Pilot reports that the defence counsel had argued that ASP James had a good record as staff of the Nigerian police and had conducted himself well in the course of the trial.
But the NDLEA, in its counter-affidavit, said it would be improper and inappropriate for the court to grant him bail considering the nature of the case.