19th October, 2011
Barrister Badr Mohammed Bashir, lawyer to Nollywood comic actor Baba Suwe, who has been detained for seven days at Lagos airport, says he is set to sue the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, for N1billion for breaching the fundamental human rights of his client.
Barr. Bashir told P.M.NEWS today that irrespective of the outcome of the waiting game between NDLEA and Baba Suwe, the anti narcotics agency has no business holding his client for more than 24 hours over alleged involvement in drug trafficking.
He said: “Right now, I am preparing the brief to file for the enforcement of the fundamental human right of my client at the Federal High Court and by Friday I can assure you that the matter will be in court. NDLEA has no right whatsoever to detain my client indefinitely. I am not saying they should not do their job but rather they should do it within the limit of the law. No law permits them to detain Baba Suwe indefinitely but since they have chosen to do what pleases them, then I have not option than to sue them for N1billion”
Barr. Bashir lamented that he has not been able to contacthis client since he was detained on Wednesday last week as NDLEA officials have continuously refused all his entreaties to see him.
“Can you imagine that NDLEA officials told me that I cannot see my client until they are through with him? Where have you heard that when someone is under investigation, he cannot see his or her lawyer. I think this is the height of abuse of the law and NDLEA must pay for this,” he said.
The ace comedian, whose real name is Babatunde Omidina, was arrested at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos, southwest Nigeria, on Wednesday, 12 October as he was about boarding an Air France flight to Paris, France, where he was billed to attend a naming ceremony.
He was detained after some strange particles suspected to be hard drugs were allegedly detected in his stomach by the United States-donated scanner known as Soter RS.
He has denied the allegations and promised to sue the agency.
The Director General of NDLEA, Mr. Femi Ajayi, said in a television interview on Monday that according to standard practice, a drug suspect must test negative at least three times to convince anti-narcotics agents he is innocent after particles are detected by the scanning machine.
The Lagos airport Commander of the NDLEA, Mr. Hamza Umar, said last week after the arrest that there was enough ground for suspecting the comedian, adding that in previous arrests, some suspects had excreted the drug at the fourth excretion.
For seven days now, since the popular comedian was arrested and detained by NDLEA operatives, Nigerians have been waiting to know the outcome of the drug saga.
The arrest of Baba Suwe is generating a lot of interest in the Nigerian media and social network sites such as Facebook and Twitter.
Thousands of people had shared P.M.NEWS stories on Baba Suwe on their facebook pages, millions have been discussing it and many more are holding their breath to know who between Baba Suwe and the NDLEA will be vindicated.
Some are already calling the drug saga, a tragicomedy of gargantuan errors.
Meanwhile, Baba Suweâ€™s colleague, Adewale Elesho, has warned that there would be problems in the country if the comedian dies in NDLEA cell.
Speaking with P.M.NEWS, Elesho wondered why the comedian is still being detained after several excretions that all tested negative to drug ingestion.
He said that NDLEA owes the public an explanation â€œbecause I am suspecting that they might want to play a fast game and implicate the actor.â€
Elesho told P.M.NEWS that he is awaiting directives from former ANTP president, Jide Kosoko, to know the next line of action.
By Henry Ojelu & Simon Ateba