18 May 2017

Nigeria: Court Adjourns Journalist's Suit Against Customs to June 19

Justice Abdulazeez Anka of the Federal High Court, Lagos, on Tuesday said further adoption of oral evidences in the suit filed against the Nigerian Custom Service over assault on a journalist, Otunba Olomofe, will now hold on June 19. The trial judge fixed the date after the cross examination of the applicant by the respondent.

The Lagos branch of the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ) had filed the suit on behalf of the Badagry-based journalist, seeking enforcement of his fundamental rights to life, freedom of expression and the press.

Joined as respondents in the suit are the then Comptroller-General of customs, Mr. Abdullahi Diko Nde, the Seme Area Controller of Customs, Mr. Muhammed Ndalati and a Deputy Comptroller of Customs, Mr. Emmanuel Nkemdirim.

Others include Ibrahim Turaki, an Assistant Comptroller of Customs at Seme, Sam Madubueke alias "Big Sam of Ibiye", Suleiman Momoh alias "Basket", one Elijah and Shehu.

At the last adjourned date on April 25, the applicant (Olomofe) had begun oral evidence and had recounted before the court how he was assaulted by some men at the premises of the NCS in Seme.

He had informed the court that he was tortured and brutalised and eventually dumped in a pit.When the case was called on Tuesday, Olomofe was led in cross-examination by the respondent's counsel, Mrs. O. Adaobi and Mr. C.C. Ifediora.

On the question whether he believed that the NCS Seme was harbouring smugglers, Olomofe replied yes. He said the Seme NCS had done everything to shield the sixth to eight respondents and their gang from justice.

When asked further to identify the spot and in whose presence the assault took place, Olomofe said: "I was attacked initially on the threshold of the office of fourth respondent (Turaki) in the presence of the Ndalati, Nkemdirim, and Turaki."

He said he was then physically carried to a refuse pit near the Seme customs warehouse by the sixth to eight respondents, adding that the gory incidence was still fresh in his memory.


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