According to a report by SaharaReporters, a Federal High Court in Abuja has dismissed a bail application filed by an Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) Bawa James, one of the co-defendants of suspended Deputy Commissioner of Police, Abba Kyari.
In a ruling on Thursday, Justice Emeka Nwite held that the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) had given reasons why the court should not admit James to a bail.
Justice Nwite said James was a flight risk and might jump bail. The judge subsequently refused to grant James bail and adjourned the matter until May 26.
Kyari faces a trial on charges of illegal dealing in cocaine, alongside the extradition proceedings filed against him based on the U.S. government’s request to Nigeria to surrender him for trial in California.
While he was on suspension over his indictment for fraud by the U.S. government last year, the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) arrested him in February, and subsequently charged him and six others, including four members of his former police unit, with illegal dealing in cocaine.
Both the criminal trial on narcotic offences and extradition hearing are taking place separately before two judges of the Federal High Court in Abuja.
At its current pace, the extradition hearing, hobbled by the country’s unwieldy judicial process, is unlikely to end before October when the trial in the U.S is expected to start.
Yet Kyari reserves the right to appeal up to the Supreme Court even if the court orders his extradition at the end of the ongoing proceedings.
This makes the future of the extradition process uncertain, even as the trial court has recently ordered his continued detention pending the conclusion of the cocaine-trafficking trial.
Lawyers also say Kyari’s ongoing trial on cocaine-related charges may scuttle the prospect of the extradition proceedings because of section 3 (6) of Nigeria’s Extradition Act.
The provision, according to lawyers, exempts a suspect standing trial in Nigeria from being extradited to a foreign country until the conclusion of the Nigerian trial or the conclusion of a prison sentence.
The Federal High Court sitting in Abuja had ordered the remand of Kyari, and six others facing drug trafficking charges with him, to the Kuje Correctional Centre.
The presiding judge, Justice Nwite ordered the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, to transfer the defendants to prison custody, shortly after he denied them bail.
The suspended DCP was arraigned alongside Sunday J Ubia, Bawa James, Simon Agirigba and John Nuhu who are members of the Police Intelligence Response Team (IRT).
Other defendants in the charge marked FHC/ABJ/57/2022, are two drug traffickers who were arrested at the Akanu Ibiam International Airport in Enugu, Chibunna Umeibe and Emeka Ezenwane.