Dissatisfied with the decision of the Court of Appeal, Lagos division against his drug case with NDLEA, popular comedian Mr. Babatunde Omidina, famously known as Baba Suwe, has moved to lodge an appeal at the Supreme Court urging it to uphold the earlier judgment of the Ikeja High Court.
Justice Yetunde Idowu of the High Court, had earlier awarded N25 million compensation to the comic actor after he was detained for several days by the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, (NDLEA) which wrongly accused him of drug related offences.
The notice of appeal filed by the actor’s counsel, Bamidele Aturu, is praying the apex court to set aside the decision of the appeal court and uphold that of the trial court, which awarded monetary compensation to him.
The Appeal Court had on May 31, quashed the judgment of the lower court, which ordered the NDLEA to pay him N25 million as compensation for detaining him for several days over allegation of drug trafficking.
Contrary to the judgment of Justice Yetunde, the appellate Court, in its ruling delivered by Justice Rita Pemu, considered all the three vital grounds of appeal in favour of the appellant (NDLEA).
The NDLEA had, in its appeal, asked the court to allow the appeal and set aside the judgment of the lower court.
Justice Pemu of the Appeal Court in her lead judgment, unanimously adopted by two other justices, Chima Nweze and F. O. Akinbami, described the N25 million damages awarded to Baba Suwe as erroneous, oppressive and superfluous.
She held that even though the trial judge had discretion to award costs in a fundamental human right suit, such award of damages must be based on law and not arbitrary.
“Damages must be based on law, even though it is at the discretion of the trial judge. The award of N25 million to the respondent was based on wrong premises and it is uncalled for.”
She further held that no evidence was placed before the court to warrant such outrageous award, adding that the court ought not to have overburdened NDLEA with such award of damages.
However, no specific date has been fixed for hearing of the appeal in the Supreme Court.
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