Justice Emeka Nwite of the federal high court, Abuja division has sentenced two of Abba Kyari’s co-defendants to two years imprisonment on each of counts 5, 6 and 7.
The court convicted them on Tuesday after they prayed the court for a plea bargain agreement.
A plea bargain is a negotiated agreement between a prosecutor and a defendant whereby the defendant pleads guilty to a lesser offence or to one of multiple charges in exchange for some concession by the prosecutor -either a more lenient sentence or a dismissal of the other charges.
Mr Chibunna Umeibe and Mr Emeka Ezenwanne are the 6th and 7th defendants in the suit filed by the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) against Mr Kyari and others over an alleged drug deal.
The two defendants are the two alleged drug traffickers arrested at the Akanu Ibiam International Airport in Enugu.
What happened in court
When the matter was called up, Sunday Joseph, NDLEA’s counsel informed the judge that two motions seeking for a plea bargain with respect to the two defendants have been filed today.
- E. U. Okenyi, counsel to the two defendants also affirmed to the judge that the applications were already filed before the court. Mr Okenyi prayed the court for the motions to be taken and adopted.
- Other counsel in the suit did not oppose the motions for a plea bargain agreement.
- Delivering judgement, justice Nwite held that the defendants should forfeit their international passports in accordance with Section 30 of the NDLEA Act, Cap M30, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria.
- The judge said “having admitted to have committed the offence preferred against them in counts 5, 6 and 7 by the NDLEA, Chibunna Umeibe and Emeka Ezenwanne, who are 6th and 7th defendants, are hereby convicted accordingly.”
- However, the court, which noted that the two defendants were remorseful, held that the sentence would run concurrently, commencing from the date they were arrested by the NDLEA.
- He directed that the duo would testify as witnesses in the trial of the other defendants in line with the plea bargain agreement entered into.
- The judge also directed the NDLEA to ensure the safety of the convicts in any correctional centre of their choice.
- He ordered the NDLEA to monitor the convicts while in prison so they do not commit any more crimes while serving their jail term.
- The judge thereafter fixed July 18, 19 and 20 for the trial of Mr Kyari and the other defendants.
What you should know
- On March 7, Mr Umeibe and Mr Ezenwanne were arraigned. They were accused of being in possession of 21.35 kilogrammes of cocaine thereby committing an offence contrary to and punishable under section 11(d) of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency Act Cap N30 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004.
- However, they pleaded guilty to count 5, 6 and 7, of the eight-count charge proffered against them by the NDLEA.