The Lagos High Court in Ikeja has Thursday ordered the Nigerian Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, to pay a sum of Twenty five million Naira (about $162,000) to popular actor and comedian Babatunde Omidina aka Baba Suwe as damages for his unlawful arrest and detention.
Baba Suwe and his counsel had earlier dragged the NDLEA to court, suing for N100M damages for his unlawful detention which led to public humiliation.
The order was given this morning by presiding judge Justice Yetunde Idowu who cited that the detention of Baba Suwe by the NDLEA ‘was not justified’.
According to Justice Idowu: ‘The actions of the NDLEA constitute a flagrant abuse and infringement of fundamental rights of the applicant.’
She also added, ‘the compensation awarded should reflect the extent of which the applicant’s dignity was damaged’.
In addition to the sum of money ordered to be paid, Justice Idowu also ordered the law enforcement agency to publish a statement of apology in two widely read Nigerian newspapers. The choice of newspapers is to be agreed by both counsels.
Baba Suwe was arrested by officers of the NDLEA on his way to France on October 12, 2011 on the suspicions of ingesting substance suspected to be cocaine. He was released on bail after 24 days in custody when the NDLEA could not find any banned-drug-related substance in his excretions.