Detained Businessman, Ukatu Afamefuna Mallinson, has filed a fundamental rights suit asking the Federal High Court sitting in Lagos to order the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) to release him “forthwith” and “unconditionally” or upon such terms as the court may deem fit.
Ukatu, who is the Managing Director of Mallinson & Partners Limited, is accused by the NDLEA to have allegedly imported two containers containing 1,284 cartons of Tramadol worth N22 billion in 2019, and claimed to be behind a N3 billion shipment of Tramadol linked to the disgraced police chief, Abba Kyari.
Mr Mallinson Ukatu, apart from claiming innocence of the allegations, also averred that the NDLEA not only failed to arraign him in court, despite there being a Federal High Court within a 40 kilometers radius of where he is being held, but had also failed to grant him administrative bail since his arrest on April 13, 2022.
He therefore asked the court to declare that his arrest by the NDLEA on April 13, at the Murtala Muhammed local Airport Terminal, Ikeja, Lagos, and continued detention in its cell at the NDLEA office at NAHCO Compound, International Airport Road, was “without reasonable cause or upon reasonable suspicion” of a crime,” and violates his fundamental rights.
He also urged the court for an order of perpetual injunction restraining the NDLEA from “re-arresting, further re-detaining, further re-incarcerating” him contrary to his fundamental rights to liberty and freedom as enshrined in Section 35 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) among other laws.
The applicant made the prayers in an originating summons in the suit marked FHC/L/CS/796/2022, before Justice Nicholas Oweibo, filed by his counsel Victor Opara, SAN.
In the alternative, Ukatu begged the court for an order admitting him to bail on the most liberal terms pending the conclusion of NDLEA’s investigation and/or his arraignment.
He also sought an order directing the NDLEA to tender a public apology to him for the “unlawful arrest and unlawful detention” to be published in three national newspapers namely The Punch, The Nation and Vanguard.
The applicant further prayed for an order directing the NDLEA to pay him, N200 million as damages for unlawful arrest and unlawful detention.
The court is yet to fix a date for hearing of the application.