Mr. Babatunde Omidina, aka Baba Suwe,
Lagos Division of the Court of Appeal Tuesday refused to hear a motion filed by the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) seeking to stay execution of the judgment of Justice Yetunde Idowu of a Lagos High Court which ordered it to pay N25 million to a popular comedian, Mr. Babatunde Omidina, aka Baba Suwe, as compensation for detaining him for several days over allegation of drug trafficking.
The appellate court presided over by Justice Helen Ogunwumiju however opted for accelerated hearing of the matter. Justice Ogunwumiju directed that rather than hear the application for stay of execution filed by the agency, the court was more disposed to granting accelerated hearing of the appeal.
However, the court granted the application filed by Mr. Chukwuyem Atewe, counsel to the Baba Suwe, for extension of time within which he can file his respondent’s brief.
Upon granting of the application, the court ordered the NDLEA to file its reply brief within 14 days from yesterday, if it has any reply to file on points of law.
When the matter came up yesterday, NDLEA’s Director of Prosecution and Legal Services, Mr. Femi Oloruntoba, told the court that the appeal was ripe for hearing and that there was a pending motion before the court asking for stay of execution of the judgment of the lower court.
Oloruntoba told the court that Justice Idowu had refused a similar application for stay of execution of her judgment delivered on November 24, 2011 pending the determination of the appeal filed by the agency.
But Justice Ogunwumiju said the agency should forget about stay of execution of the judgment of the lower court and focus on accelerated hearing of the appeal.
Subsequently, Justice Ogunwumiju adjourned the appeal till October 18 for hearing of the substantive appeal.
In its eight-page notice of appeal signed by Oloruntoba, the appellant stated that the trial judge erred in law when she held that NDLEA was not justified in detaining Baba Suwe from the day of his arrest (October 12, 2011) till October 21, 2011 when the Federal High Court order to detain him was obtained.
The appellant further stated that the trial judge erred in law and misdirected herself on facts when she held that the act of the NDLEA in detaining Baba Suwe for nine days was a flagrant abuse and infringement of his fundamental human rights.
Besides, the appellant argued that the lower court erred in law when it ordered it (NDLEA) to pay the applicant (Baba Suwe) N25 million as compensation and that the appellant should publish a public apology in two widely read national newspapers.