Lagos Businessman Sues NDLEA Over Unlawful Home Invasion, Illegal Detention
Aro Aderinde, a forty-eight years old Lagos based businessman, has threatened to drag the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, to court for unlawfully breaking into his house in the Ikorodu area of Lagos, arresting and detaining him for 33 days.
Three months ago, the anti-narcotic agency disclosed that it had arrested Aderinde, who had been on its wanted list, over his alleged involvement in the export of 3,149 kilogrammes of cannabis Sativa concealed in coconut fibres via container number MSKU 1820587.
But Aderinde accused NDLEA of not carrying out due diligence in its investigation before releasing his identity in the public space.
Describing the agency’s action as unlawful, in a press briefing held on Saturday, January 21, 2023, in Abuja, he said he was freed and confirmed innocent of illicit drug charges levelled against him.
He, therefore, demanded an apology from the NDLEA as well as a retraction of the publication which he said was injurious to him
According to him, “ At about 4am, on October 16, 2022, about 30 armed NDLEA officers invaded my house in Ikorodu, broke and damaged three doors to gain entry. They arrested and detained me in their office for 33 days with regard to an offence I knew nothing about.
“They circulated the news to the print, electronic and social media, that I am a drug kingpin, with my picture carrying a placard and placing some packages beside me in the picture, suggesting that those packages of illicit drugs were recovered from me. They did all these without a diligent investigation.
“This action is defamatory and injurious to my reputation, my business and my family’s reputation.
“After my release, my lawyer wrote the NDLEA for retraction of all publications against me in print, electronic and social media, but the organization replied to my lawyer that it was not culpable, hence there is no need for retractions.
“I have therefore instructed my lawyer to take legal action against the NDLEA over my arrest, detention, and the defamatory publications”, he stated.
However, when the spokesman for the NDLEA, Mr Femi Babafemi was contacted, he that Aderinde was still wanted by the agency.
According to Babafemi, “. Aderinde is wanted by the Agency because he failed to keep to the conditions of his administrative bail to report along with other suspects in the case.
“While others have been reporting, he failed to show up and already charges have been filed against him. He needs to submit himself to face his charges rather than seeking to appeal for sympathy”
Abba Kyari’s Drug Charge Attracts Minimum Of 15 Years In Jail – NDLEA
The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, has said the offences for which suspended Deputy Commissioner of Police, DCP, Abba Kyari and four other policemen were charged before a Federal High Court in Abuja attract a minimum of 15 years imprisonment upon conviction.
The NDLEA faulted claim by Kyari that he suffers ill-health and expressed doubt about the authenticity of the medical reports he has so far tendered in court.
The agency cautioned the court against granting Kyari and other defendants in the case bail, alleging that they constitute flight risk and could jump bail if granted one.
The NDLEA stated this in its counter-affidavit it filed in opposition to the bail applications by Kyari and others.
“That the offences the defendants/applicants are being charged with are serious in nature attracting penalties of not less than 15 years imprisonment on conviction.
“Considering the seriousness of the offences, the character of evidence against them and their antecedents of not wanting to submit themselves to investigation and the criminal justice process, as well as the enormous resources at their disposal, there is a strong likelihood of the defendants/applicants taking flight if granted bail.
“One of their accomplices, ASP John Umoru (a.k.a. Too Much Money), has absconded and been declared wanted by the police and is still at large refusing to submit himself to justice.
“The ‘medical report’ attached in paragraph 21 in respect of the 1st applicant (Kyari) is a laboratory test report carried out in 2019.
“The 1st applicant is in the habit of procuring medical reports and had, in a sister fundamental rights enforcement suit number FHC/ABJ/CS/182/2022 before His Lordship, Honourable Justice I. Ekwo, attached a medical report from Chira Specialist Hospital dated 19th February 2022 while in the respondents custody and did not go anywhere.
“The 1st applicant never mentioned any laboratory test report in that suit. There are obvious discrepancies in the dates on the laboratory test result of Alliance Hospital as between 11th July 2019 and 25th February 2022.
“At the second date indicated on the laboratory report – 25/2/2022 – the 1st applicant was already in the custody of the respondent and did not go anywhere.
“The issue of the laboratory test report is an afterthought. None of the hospitals mentioned above is a government hospital and the 1st defendant/applicant, being a public servant in the Nigeria Police, is under the National Health insurance Health Scheme and entitled to only one hospital as a primary health provider under the scheme.
“Exhibit B (medical report) of the 1st defendant/applicant’s application is dubious,” the NDLEA said.
The defendants had, in their bail applications, claimed among others, ill-health; pledged not interfere with prosecution’s witnesses and assured that they would be available for trial.
On Monday, lawyers to parties made their final submissions in respect of the bail applications, following which Justice Emeka Nwite adjourned till March 28 for ruling.
The application of the third defendant, James, was not moved by his lawyer, Michael Mbanefo, who sought time to reply to NDLEA’s counter-affidavit.
Kyari was last week arraigned with the Assistant Commissioner of Police, Sunday J. Ubua; Assistant Superintendent of Police, Bawa James; Inspector Simon Agirgba; Inspector, John Nuhu, and two civilians – Chibuna Umeibe and Emeka Ezenwanne – on an eight-count charge
While Kyari and the four other policemen pleaded not guilty, the two civilians pleaded guilty.