Court declares arrest, detention of lawyer illegal
A Federal High Court, Enugu, has declared the arrest and detention of a Lagos-based lawyer, Mr. Chiedu Nweke, by the officers of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) Enugu State, as illegal and unlawful.
Justice Ibrahim Buba, while ruling on the fundamental Rights Enforcement suit filed by Nweke against NDLEA officials and the agency, declared that the actions of NDLEA officers contravenes Nweke’s right to freedom of movement, right to his dignity and his right to liberty.
Nweke had sued NDLEA, its officer, Peter Udemgba and the Attorney-General of the Federation over allegations of arrest, abduction, dehumanization, detention, forcible extortion and robbery.He had alleged that he was abducted and robbed at gunpoint by a team of operatives from the NDLEA office at Independence Layout, Enugu.
He claimed that the armed operatives in a Toyota Hilux van had cornered him while walking on road towards an Oando Filling Station at Lagos Street junction on Ogui road.He said the leader of the team who is the 1st respondent ordered that he should be hand-cuffed, without them asking for his identity or any question.
Nweke therefore averred that after being hand-cuffed on the street in the glare of the public and all passers by, the leader of the assailants took his wallet, phones and then looked at him and accused him of being a drug baron. He said he corrected him and told him he is a senior lawyer.
According to the applicant, the said leader of the team after checking his wallet and found N18,000 said it was too small and then took all his Automated Teller Machine (ATM) cards from the wallet, abducted him and drove him straight to Zenith Bank Otigba at new Haven junction and at gunpoint with the 1st respondent as the team leader on one side then another gang member on the other, they inserted his Diamond Bank ATM Card into the machine and compelled him to enter his password.
He said that in the process, the team withdrew a sum of N160,000 from his Zenith Bank account in tranches of N20,000 until all his ATM cards stopped dispensing.