Why drug traffickers arrested by Police, transferred to NDLEA were allegedly forced to enter plea bargain for lesser jail term
By Gbenga Bolaji
On Tuesday, two drug traffickers arrested in January 19 by the Police at the Akanu Ibiam International Airport Enugu were sentenced to 2 years imprisonment for each of the 3 counts which is to run concurrently by the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja.
The court handed down the sentence on Tuesday less than six month to their arrest by the police after they were cleared by the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA in Enugu Airport as confessed by the now convicted suspects.
Recall the NDLEA was 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.
Luck ran out of the two arrested drug traffickers – Chibunna Patrick Umeibe and Emeka Alphonsus Ezenwanne – as men of the Inspector General of Police’s Intelligence Response Team, IGP-IRT arrested them after they were cleared by men of the NDLEA.
Others escaped and have not been arrested.
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 allegedly “settle” NDLEA officers before passing with their drugs many times.
According to Barr Ibrahim Usman, one of Abba Kyari’s lawyer, following the discovery made by the police, the NDLEA quickly allegedly indicted the same police men 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.
He revealed that the NDLEA tactically excludes 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.
The “NDLEA separately allegedly secured a plea bargain with the two suspects the police arrested with the drugs, enabling them to enter a plea deal, which secured easy guilty verdict and light sentence which will run for only two years.
“They were convicted on 3 counts (count 5,6,7) of the charges, and handed two years jail each but Justice Emeka Nwite held it would run concurrently (that is two years),” he said.
It was gathered all was done quickly to enable the two drug traffickers who were given soft landing not to indict and mention NDLEA’s operatives as accessories during full trial.
Usman further explained that the agency quickly entered into the plea bargain and got light sentence for the drug traffickers so as to avoid cross examinations and full trial, that will expose NDLEA operatives already mentioned and indicted by same now convicted suspects.
The NDLEA had invited its indicted men from the Enugu Airport to Abuja few months ago following the police revelation but reposted them to various offices to avoid prying eyes.
“No any action was taken on the NDLEA officers that allegedly collected bribes to release the drug traffickers in Enugu Airport while the police that arrested the same drug traffickers and transferred to NDLEA are being persecuted by the same organization who shielded her officers from arrest and prosecution and kept spending a lot of money in the media to kill the Video and written confessions of the drug traffickers indicting her officers in Enugu from circulating.”
He strongly recommended that the Attorney general of the federation and the Government of Nigeria must not allow these NDLEA officers in Enugu Airport clearly indicted by these convicted drug traffickers to go free in the interest of Justice and fairness to all.