Sunday, June 2, 2013

Baba Suwe Loses N25m Award At Appeal Court.

Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) for infringement on the rights a comedian, Babatunde Omidina popularly known as Baba Suwe.

The agency had arrested the comedian on October 12, 2011 at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport on his way to Paris, France, and detained him beyond the constitutional provision of 24 hours without formally arraigning him before a court of competent record for alleged ingestion of hard drugs.

But the appellate court, in its judgment read by Justice Rita Pemu, held that the NDLEA has the right to keep the respondent in custody while investigation was being carried out.

Justice Pemu also declared that the Lagos High Court lacked the jurisdiction to entertain, in the first place, the fundamental human rights suit filed by Lagos lawyer and rights activist, Bamidele Aturu, on behalf of the comedian. She added that it was only the Federal High Court that had the right to adjudicate on the matter, being a drug-related case.

She then held that the award of the damage sum by the trial judge was "excessive, unrealistic and perverse."

Justice Pemu said, "The constitution stipulates the right to personal liberty. The result of the CT Scan carried out on the respondent was in consonance with the appellant's suspicion.

"The appellant took note of the respondent's rights, and that was why it applied for an extension of time to keep the respondent in custody – which the Federal High Court presided over by retired Justice Okeke rightly granted. The detention of the respondent is, therefore, not unreasonable."

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