Yoruba comedian, Babatunde Omidina (also known as Baba Suwe) has filed an appeal against the quashing of the N25m damages awarded to him at the expense of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) by the High Court but overruled by the Appeal Court.
The 53-year-old reopened the case at the apex court, Human Rights Lawyer Bamidele Aturu arguing his case.
According to Aturu, the appellate court erred by failing to uphold the High Court’s judgement compelling payment of monetary compensation to the actor. The major basis of argument in Baba Suwe’s camp is that detaining him without charging him to court for more than the period stipulated in Section 35 of the Nigerian Constitution was unjust and required compensation, especially when there are no evidences to prove his commission of the crime.
Baba Suwe was arrested on 12th October 2011 at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos, aboard an Air France flight to Paris, France. NDLEA claimed its scanner at the airport detected some suspicious substances in the comedian’s stomach that warranted investigations, such as NDLEA officials watching him excrete.
Nothing was found on him after 10 days of rigorous examination yet NDLEA obtained a court order to detain him for a further 15 days. He was released after 25 days in detention, in all, a court ordering his release after nothing was found in him.
A Lagos High Court presided over by justice Yetunde Idowu then ordered NDLEA to pay Baba Suwe N25m as damages for “flagrant abuse and infringement on his fundamental human rights.”
However, on 31st May 2013, Justice Rita Pemu of the Appeal Court overruled the N25m damage judgement, holding that NDLEA has the prerogative to keep the respondent in custody while investigating the case.