Court Ordered NDLEA To Produce Businessman In Court Dec. 4 Over Alleged Unlawful Detention

Posted on December 3, 2023

A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos, has ordered the production of a Nigeria businessman, Alhaji Abdulwaheed Abdulraheem in court over an alleged unlawful detention by the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA).

Justice Daniel Osiagor made the order sequel to a motion filed and argued by the counsel to the applicant Mr Adebayo Onifade who said that the businessman has been in the custody of the anti-narcotic agency since October 18, 2023.

His suit before the court is pursuant to section 46 of the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic Of Nigeria, Order II Rule 1, 2 and 3 of the fundamental Rights Enforcement Procedures, Article 5, 6 and 12 of the Charter On Human And Peoples Rights (Ratification And Enforcement Act) Cap. 10 Laws Of The Federation Of Nigeria 1990 (4) and under the court’s inherent jurisdiction.

He also asked the court to declare that his arrest and detention since the 18 October, 2023 without charge is unlawful, unconstitutional null and void. And for order releasing him from the custody of the Respondent forthwith.

The businessman who is the Managing Director of Kaother Abdussalam Hasan Establishment Limited in the suit marked FHC/L/CS//2023 and Consultant to Lagos, Ogun, Osun, Ondo and Ekiti States on Umrah and Hajj Operations, listed the following grounds upon which reliefs are based: “The arrest and detention of the Applicant since the 18 day of October, 2023 without charge is unlawful, unconstitutional null and void.

“The Applicant has not committed any offence. He does not deal in illicit drugs and was not found in possession of any illicit drugs or substances.

“The Applicant is being detained pending when one of his customers by name Ayo Felicia who requested and used the Applicant’s services to secure visa, accommodation and travel arrangements of three women who were arrested in Saudi Arabia with suspected hard drugs, is apprehended and arrested.

“The Applicant is an accredited and International Agent and Consultant involved in the procurement of visas, accommodation and travel arrangements of intending pilgrims for Umrah and Hajj Operation.”

The detained businessman in an affidavit in support of the suit deposed to by his wife, Raheema Abdulraheem, states that the applicant is an accredited and International Agent and Consultant involved in the procurement of visas, accommodation and travel arrangements of intending pilgrims for Umrah and Hajj Operation.

She stated that in the course of the recent Umrah and Hajj Pilgrimage, the applicant had about 88 pilgrims for which he was responsible for their visa procurement, accommodation and travel arrangements.

And that of these 88 pilgrims, 10 pilgrims left from the United States of America for the Umrah and Hajj, three Pilgrims left from Canada, two from the United Kingdom and the remaining 73 pilgrims from Nigeria departed from the Murtala Mohammed International Airport Lagos and the Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport Abuja.

She stated that the Applicant was arrested at his office Shop No. A79 NAF Shopping Mall, Local/International Airport Road, Ikeja, Lagos on the 18th October, 2023 in the presence of his driver and Personal Assistant.

And that upon his arrest, his premises was searched and nothing incriminating was found on him however his Toyota Highlander Vehicle, Samsung fold Phone, Iphone, office documents, an old passport, wristwatch, bag and $2000 USD, were taken away by the agents of the Respondent.

She stated that a search was further conducted in the house of the applicant in the night around 1.30a.m., however nothing incriminating nor any illicit drugs were recovered.

Adding that when she visited him in the custody of the Respondent on the 16th November, 2023, the Applicant informed him that he was subjected to interrogations and asked to explain how three of the Pilgrims under his custody came about substances suspected to be hard drugs at Saudi Arabia.

And that he wrote a statement in the presence of one of his Counsels shortly after his arrest.

She further stated that following the Applicant’s detention, one of their Counsels from the chambers of Idowu Sofola SAN wrote two letters dated 2 November, 2023 and 14 November, 2023 to the Commander, National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, Murtala Mohammed International Airport Ikeja and to the Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of the respondent respectively applying for the administrative bail of the applicant, however neither the respondent nor its officers responded to the request of Counsel.

She also stated that on the November 16, 2023, outside the premises of the respondent’s office NAHCO along Airport Road Ikeja, Lagos, one of the Counsel by name Paschal Bekeh Esq informed him that the continued detention of the applicant by the respondent is a grave infringement of the applicant’s constitutionally guaranteed right to personal liberty, fair hearing and the presumption of innocence, and that the Fundamental Principles upon which bail is founded are that a Defendant/Applicant is presumed innocent until he is proven guilty and that before Conviction, bail is a right and the burden is therefore on the Respondent to show why the Applicant should not enjoy these right.

She stated that the NDLEA’s recourse the indefinite detention of the Applicant without charging him to Court is a calculated attempted to subject the Applicant to emotional torture and frustrate him.

And that all efforts to secure the administrative bail of the applicant from the respondent’s wrongful detention has proved abortive and the continuous detention of the Applicant has caused immeasurable physical and psychological trauma to the Applicant who is now sickly and ill.

Adding that the continued detention of the Applicant has caused untold hardship on the Applicant, on me and all other family members including his aged father and his businesses.

He also stated that it will be in the interest of justice if this application is granted and the respondent would not be prejudiced by the grant of this application.

Also, the applicant in a further affidavit in support of the his application, deposed to by his Personal Assistant, Ibrahim Hassan Omoidunnu, stated that he visited the Applicant in the custody of the Respondent at NAHCO on the 21st November, 2023 where he informed me and I verily believe him as follows: “that the applicant and himself were arrested in the applicant’s office on the 18th October, 2023 by operation of the respondent, but he was bailed out by Mrs Raheema Abdulraheem on the October 21, 2023.

“That his statement was taken on the 21th October, 2023 in the presence of one of his Counsels, Adebayo Peters Esq and this process lasted from about 1.00p.m. in the afternoon till about 11. 00 p.m in the night. And that on Friday the 3rd November, 2023, two officers of the respondent from Abuja came to interview him in the presence of his wife, Mrs Raheem Abdulraheem and Lanre Akinsanya of Counsel. This interview was conducted under video coverage.”

The deponent stated that the applicant complained of ill health to the operatives of the respondent on Tuesday the 9th November, 2023, but he was not taken to the hospital until the 14th November, 2023 when he was eventually taken to the Nigeria Air force Hospital where the Medical Doctor prescribed that he should be allowed to be walking in the evening, however the operatives of the Respondent never adhered to this instruction. Adding that his Complaint to the Doctor was on his failing health, failing eyesight and general pains.

He stated that the crux of his Statement and interview was on the arrest of three women, namely: Ahmed Adam Zulaihat with Passport No: BO1864994, Nasid Binta with Passport No: BO1865125 and Abdullahi Rashida with Passport No: B01864447, who were found with hard drugs in Saudi Arabia.

Adding that the operatives of the respondent states that these three women were among 88 pilgrims he processed their Visas, accommodation and travel arrangements to Saudi Arabia for the recently conducted Hajj and Umrah Pilgrimage.

He stated that the applicant informed the operatives of the Respondent, that one Ayo Felicia, a customer residing in Saudi Arabia, forwarded the Passport of three women to him and paid him for their Hajj arrangements, and that he showed the operatives of the Respondent proof of payment by his customer, Ayo Felicia from his Phone and that the said customer, Ayo Felicia paid for seven (7) slots but he was only able to secure three slots for her.

He also stated that the applicant informed the operatives of the Respondent, that he never met and does not know those three women arrested in Saudi Arabia neither did he ever communicate with them as he dealt solely with the said Ayo Felicia and he returned the Passport of the three women to Ayo Felicia. These facts were confirmed in his telephone chats.

The deponent further stated that in the course of investigations one Idiat Idowu Abdulkareem, the Applicant’s Pilgrims Chaperone was invited and questioned by the operatives of the Respondent and when she presented her list of the pilgrims on her manifest the names of the three women arrested were not on the list. That this showed that though they travelled on the same flight, the three women travelled independently.

He also stated that he was informed by a lawyer, Adebayo Onifade, when he visited his chambers at Sura Mall on the 29 November, 2023, and he informed him that the respondents have filed an application to detain the Applicant for fourteen (14) days in Suit No:FHC/L/CS/2136/2023.

Adding that the applications filed by the Respondent are fraught with misrepresentations and the Applicant is taking steps to set aside Order/Ruling of the Honourable Court

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