Saturday, 16 February 2013

Baba Suwe: Court hears NDLEA’s appeal April 18

The Court of Appeal sitting in Lagos will on April 18 hear an appeal filed by the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) against a judgment ordering the agency to pay N25 million as damages to popular Yoruba comic artiste, Mr Babatunde Omidina, a.k.a Baba Suwe, in 2011.
Justice Yetunde Idowu of a Lagos high court sitting in Ikeja had, on November 24, 2011, in an infringement suit filed by Omidina, ordered the agency to pay the respondent N25 million for keeping him in custody beyond the legal time limit on a suspicion of drug ingestion.
The court also ordered the agency to apologise to the actor in two national dailies.
But at the resumed hearing of the matter on Friday, the parties could not argue their points as Justice Chima Nweze stated that the suit was wrongly listed for motion instead of arguments.
As a result of the error, the court adjourned the case to April 18 for a 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 narcotics.
But he did not excrete any such substance throughout the period of his incarceration and was ordered to be freed by the court.
The judge had held that the detention of the actor and the treatment meted out to him while in custody violated his constitutional rights.
The agency, however, appealed the judgment through its counsel, Mr Femi Oloruntoba, and urged the appellate court to set aside the earlier judgment on the grounds that it was arbitrary and that trial court wrongly assumed jurisdiction to entertain the suit.

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