NDLEA Marks Abba Kyari’s Maiduguri Houses, Shopping Plaza For Investigation

The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency on Monday marked six residential houses and one plaza belonging to the embattled former Intelligence Response Team leader, Abba Kyari, in Maiduguri as being under investigation.

The two-storey shopping plaza, Assurance Plaza, located along the Giwa Barracks Road in Maiduguri, has about 100 stores.

Six other residential houses within the Maiduguri New Government Residential Area allegedly belonging to the suspended Deputy Commissioner of Police had also been marked by the NDLEA.

This is coming barely 48 hours after a suspected drug dealer linked to the N3 billion worth of tramadol intercepted by the then Kyari-led IRT team was arrested by operatives of the NDLEA in Lagos.

NDLEA arrests alleged billionaire drug baron linked to Abba Kyari’s team

The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), yesterday, announced the arrest of Chief Afam Ukatu, the billionaire drug baron behind the N3b tramadol deal linked to the suspended Deputy Commissioner of Police, Abba Kyari-led Intelligence Response Team, (IRT).

Ukatu, Chairman of Mallinson Group of Companies was arrested after months of surveillance and evading arrest by anti-narcotic operatives onboard a flight to Abuja at the MM2 terminal of the Lagos airport, Ikeja on Wednesday, April 13.

NDLEA’s spokesperson, Femi Babafemi, in a statement yesterday, said investigations revealed that the suspect has been a major importer of large consignments of different brands and high dosages of tramadol hydrochloride, ranging from 120mg, 200mg, 225mg and 250mg, all of which are illicit.

Babafemi said Ukatu owns pharmaceutical and plastic manufacturing companies, which he used as a cover to import illicit drugs into Nigeria as well as operating 103 bank accounts, most of which are used to launder money.

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“Ukatu came under watch last year after five cartons of tramadol 225mg were seized from his staff on May 4, 2021,  when he sent them to sell to undercover police officers (unknown to Ukatu) from the then Kyari-led IRT of the Nigeria Police, Ikeja Lagos.

“The price of a carton of tramadol was negotiated at N17million each as against the then black market value that ranged between N18 million and N20 million a carton in Lagos.

“After the arrest of Ukatu’s staff; Pius Enidom and Sunday Ibekwete, Kyari’s men were then led by the suspects to Mallinson’s warehouse at Ojota in Lagos, where 197 additional cartons of tramadol 225mg were seized by the IRT Team. The monetary value of the 202 cartons of tramadol seized from Mallinson in one day was over N3billion.

“Three weeks after the seizure, the Kyari’s IRT team transferred only 12 cartons of the tramadol with one truck and a suspect to the Lagos Command of the NDLEA, leaving 190 cartons unaccounted for.

“After over eight months of following the lead, anti-narcotic officers of the agency eventually arrested Ukatu at the Lagos airport on April 13, 2022.

“Kyari and four top members of his team are already facing trial for a different, but similar offence at a Federal High Court in Abuja.” he added.

Court dismisses Abba Kyari’s N500 million fundamental rights suit

The Federal High Court, Abuja, on Thursday, dismissed a fundamental rights enforcement suit filed by Abba Kyari, a suspended deputy commissioner of police, against National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA).

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The judge, Inyang Ekwo, dismissed the N500 million fundamental rights suit for lack of diligent prosecution by Mr Kyari’s legal team.

Mr Kyari had filed the suit to challenge his alleged unlawful detention by NDLEA which arrested him and others over cocaine-trafficking allegations in February.

The agency subsequently filed charges against him and his co-defendants before another judge of the Federal High Court in Abuja. The trial court has since ordered him and his co-defendants to remain in detention throughout his trial.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Mr Kyari’s lawyer, Cynthia Ikena, was absent when the fundamental rights enforcement suit came up on Thursday.

With this development, NDLEA’s lawyer, Joseph Sunday, who is the agency’s Director of Prosecution and Legal Services, urged the court to strike out the suit.

Responding, the judge noted that he was informed that Ms Ikena sent a letter, praying the court for an adjournment.

The judge directed that the letter be shown to the NDLEA’s counsel, Mr Sunday, who expressed surprise with the development. He said he was not copied in the letter by the rule of the court.

He said the letter was not filed by the applicant and therefore not in compliance with the court’s rule.

He prayed the court to strike out the matter.

 

After listening to the NDLEA’s lawyer, Mr Ekwo struck out the case.

The judge, after going into the substantive matter and seeing that parties had joined issues in the suit, went ahead to dismiss the case.

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The decision came less than a month after the judge threatened to dismiss the suit following the delay by Mr Kyari’s lawyer to serve NDLEA counsel with a filing.

Background

Mr Kyari, who also has fraud charges pending against him in the U.S. and faces extradition proceedings in Nigeria, filed a suit for the enforcement of his fundamental rights against NDLEA in February.

In the document, Mr Kyari, who described the allegation against him by NDLEA as “trumped-up,” said the agency had failed to establish a prima facie case against him.

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