A 75-year-old businessman, Taiwo Kayode Alli and his son, Hamid Alli have filed a fundamental rights suit against the Chairman, National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), and four others before a Federal High Court sitting in Lagos over alleged intimidation, molestation and invasion of their house by the agency.
The Applicants through their lawyer, Eyitayo Abiodun are praying the court for an order restraining Defendants either by themselves or acting through their agent, servant or privy from arresting, intimidating or molesting the applicants pending the determination of the application.
Listed as Respondents in the suit are, the Chairman, National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, Head NDLEA Lagos Zonal Command, Lagos State, Adetula Oluwarotimi Lawal (NDLEA Bariga Outpost), and NDLEA Personnel, Adekunle and Edward.
The applicant made the prayers in a Fundamental Rights Enforcement suit marked FHC/L/CS/2017/23 before Justice Ambrose Lewis-Allagoa, brought pursuant to Sections 34 35 37 and 41 Section 44.1 of the Constitution and Order 2 Rule 1 of the Fundamental Rights Enforcement Procedure Rules 2009.
Specifically, the applicants are praying for an interim Order restraining the 1st 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th Respondents either by themselves or acting through their agent, servant or privy from arresting, intimidating or molesting them pending the determination of the application.
In a 16-paragraph affidavit deposed to by Kayode Alli (1st Applicant), he stated that on the 6th day of June 2023, his son the (2nd applicant) drove his friend that came back from United State of America to the airport to catch her flight, and on getting home at about 5.30am the he realised that the gate of his father’s house were he resides had been thrown open after the lock was broken.
He also discovered that his brother’s car, which was parked in the compound, had disappeared, and he immediately reported the matter at the Anthony Police Station.
He stated that the Nigerian Police after, tracking the car an hour to the incident, discovered that it was parked outside the NDLEA Outpost office in Gbagada, Lagos.
According to him, the 2nd Applicant with the police officer went to the NDLEA Gbagada Outpost Office, where they were told that the car was flagged down in Ikeja and the occupant refused to park, fled and abandon the car whereas the car was packed in the house.
He stated that the NDLEA personnel also informed the police that, substance suspected to be illicit drug was found inside the car, and that was the basis of towing the car.
He stated that few hours after his son left for work that same morning he was informed that officers from NDLEA Gbagada outpost had come back again to pack all the belongings in the house and also broke into the apartment upstairs which belong to his brother who leaves abroad and as been locked for over 3 years and made away with his belongs also.
He added that he instructed his counsel to visit the NDLEA office to know the reason for the latest incident and the counsel was told that substance was found in the kitchen and in the refrigerator, notwithstanding the fact that no one was home during the incessant raids.
The Applicant stated that as a follow up, NDLEA officials visited the 1st applicant’s place of work and residence of over 30yrs and demanded for code to the safe in the office, and that he called his son who released the code to them without hesitation.
He added that after opening the safe all the contents were removed which include his son’s international passport, identity card, land documents, and other documents belonging to his other children.
The deponent added that when his lawyer visited the NDLEA office he was allegedly told that all the documents will be returned upon payment of N5.5 million (Five Million, Five Hundred Thousand Naira) which was allegedly paid under duress.
He added that after giving the sum of 5.5million Naira the NDLEA officials told the lawyer that his son can no longer go back to work and continue running the family business and that he should disappear by leaving the country.
The deponent stated that they are still living in fear as they are yet to know the motive of the NDLEA officials for laying siege in the Applicant’s house.
The deponent alleged that the NDLEA officials insisted he uses a lawyer which they recommend, which credible sources say he used to work with the NDLEA and had been dismissed due to similar malpractice to do their bidding.
Ever since then he has been receiving phone calls from this lawyer urging him to pay N30 million if he wants to have his house back and documents of his property in Lekki which they allegedly took away as they claimed that the property registered as No 96 Page 96 in Volume 1990 AG belongs to his son the 2nd applicant.
He stated that he had been engaged in the butchery business for over 50 years and also invested in real estate business without dealing in any illegal business, and that the act of the NDLEA officials was contrary to public expectation.
Consequently, the Applicants are seeking for the following reliefs: “A declaration that the incessant invitation, threat of arrest, interrogation, harassment, intimidation and planned detention of the applicant, on the subject matter by the 1st to 4th Respondents in order to forcefully make the applicants admit that the product found in my house which are basically things being used for butchery business and cool room compressor are illicit substance, is not only oppressive, illegal and a flagrant breach of the Applicant’s Constitutionally guaranteed rights.
“A declaration that the unlawful occupation of the 1st applicant’s house by the NDLEA officials and their family’s house at 4 Bode Oluwo, Mende Maryland Lagos covered by Certificate of Occupancy registered as no 96 page 96 in Volume 1990AG at the Lagos Land Registry, Alausa is oppressive, harassing, intimidating and an unwarranted breach of the applicant’s fundamental rights to private, liberty, and right to compulsory acquisition of property as same is a product of the applicant’s 50 years of hard work of butchery.
“An Order specifically restraining the respondents, their servants ‘agents or any person(s) howsoever described from further act of flagrant abuse and violation of applicants fundamental rights ‘through unlawful occupation of the 1st Applicant’s property and unlawful intention to arrest the 2nd applicant”.
The Application are also praying the court for an award of N50 million as damages against the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th Respondents jointly and alternatively for the alleged unlawful and needless breach of the applicant’s right to private life, liberty, and dignity and for invading and unlawfully-occupying the house of the 1st applicant with their families “ and driving the car taken from the compound for their personal use, that all their belongings taking from both apartments be returned.
Justice Allagoa has fixed hearing of the Application till December 4, 2023.