Monday, 4 March 2013

NDLEA drags comedian Baba Suwe back to court over N25m compensation

National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA has dragged Nollywood comedy actor Babatunde Omidiran aka Baba Suwe back to court demanding the Appeal Court to set aside an earlier court judgment of Justice Yetunde Idowu of a Lagos High Court which ordered the agency to pay N25m as damages to Yoruba actor in November 24, 2011. 

The Court of Appeal, Lagos, has fixed April 8, to hear arguments on the appeal. The compensation was for keeping Baba Suwe in custody beyond the legal time limit on a suspicion of drug ingestion. 

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

The appeal which was slated for hearing last week Wednesday could not go on, as the appellate court presided over by Justice Chima Nweze observed that the suit was wrongly listed for motion instead of arguments. 

The court, in view of the error, adjourned the case to April 8 for definite hearing. Baba Suwe was arrested by operatives of the NDLEA at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport on October 12, 2011 on allegations of ingestion of a restricted narcotic. He was said to be detained without any evidence that he ingested any narcotic, as he did not excrete any of such substance throughout the period of his incarceration.

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. 

But, counsel to NDLEA, Mr. Femi Oloruntoba, had in a five-ground notice of appeal, urged the appellate court to set aside the judgment, on the grounds, that the award of N25m in favour of Baba Suwe was arbitrary and that the trial court wrongly assumed jurisdiction to entertain the suit.

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