A federal High Court sitting in Lagos has ordered the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency to pay the sum of N2m to one Lawerence Ejiofor as compensation for his prolonged and unlawful detention by the agency..
This compensation is to be paid alongside the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, which the court also found guilty of having a hand on the violation of Ejiofor’s fundamental huan rights.
The appealing lawyer, Dr. Chima Nnaji, approached Justice Mohammed Yunusa, to seek a declaration that his detention by the two agencies for over 30 days without trial was unlawful.
He also prayed that the court to order the NDLEA to return to him the sum of $96, 500 confiscated from him at the airport while returning from a trip to Tanzania.
He also mentioned to the court that his client was arrested by operatives of the NDLEA for laundering money on Thursday, April 16, 2015 on the suspicion that the money found on him was a proceed of drug-trafficking.
According to Nnnaji, his client was disallowed to declare the foreign currency at the Nigerian Customs Service Declaration Point, as required by law.
Rather, NDLEA officials arrested the applicant for money laundering, saying they suspected the money to be proceed of drug business.
After he was detained for over 30 days, they handed him over tp the EFCC for further investigation.
The EFCC on finding that Ejiofor was never involved in money laundering, discharged him but still held onto the money.
His lawyer sought for a declaration that searching the applicant at the arrival tube before being able to declare the foreign currency on him was illegal as it violated his right to freedom from compulsory acquisition of moveable property , as guaranteed under Section 44 of the 1999 Constitution.
He asked that the court should hold that the continues seizure of the $96,000 for several months was unconstitutional.
Ejiofor sought N20m as compensation for his illegal detention.
NDLEA had argued that the applicant’s arrest was lawful “given the suspicious manner he conducted himself on arrival at the airport from Tanzania.”