Vanguard (Lagos)

15 February 2013

Nigeria: Baba Suwe Vs NDLEA - Court to Hear N25 Million Judgment Appeal April 28

The Court of Appeal sitting in, Lagos, Friday adjourned till April 8, 2013, to hear the appeal by National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, against a judgment debt of N25m ordered against it in favour of Mr Babatunde Omidina, alias Baba Suwe in 2011.

A Lagos High Court, Ikeja, had in a judgment in the suit by Baba Suwe on November 24, 2011, ordered the agency to pay him N25m,for detaining him beyond the legal time limit on a suspicion of drug ingestion.

The lower court also ordered the agency to apologise to the actor publicly in conspicuous pages of two national dailies.

Hearing in the appeal, could not go on Friday, as presiding judge, Justice Chima Nweze noted that the appeal was wrongly listed for motion instead of arguments.

It will be recalled that Baba Suwe was arrested by NDLEA men at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagod on the October 12, 2011 on allegations of ingestion of a restricted narcotics.

He was alleged to have been detained without any evidence that he ingested any narcotic, as he did not excrete any of such substance throughout the period of his incaceration.

The lower court in its judgment, held that the detention of the actor and the ill treatment meted on him while in custody violated his constitutionally-guaranteed rights.

NDLEA in the appeal,is praying the court to set aside the judgment, on the grounds, that the award of N25m in favour of Baba Suwe was arbitrary, further arguing that the trial court wrongly assumed jurisdiction to hear the suit.

The agency is contending that keeping the respondent in custody between October 12 and 21, 2011, on the suspicion of drug ingestion, did not violate his rights.

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