Published On: Tue, Aug 15th, 2023

Human Right Lawyer  Omirhobo Accuses NDLEA Operatives Of Victimizing, Extorting  His Client

MALCOLM OMIRHOBO

LAGOS AUGUST 15TH (URHOBOTODAY)-Human rights lawyer, Chief Malcom Omirhobo has asked the Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) to initiate a comprehensive investigation of his officers allegedly involved in criminal, unprofessional and unethical conducts in Lagos.

The lawyer said his client, Miss Ekwejunor Oritsematosan, on whose behalf he is seeking the investigation was victimised by officials of the Agency.

In a petition titled, “Re: Criminal, Unprofessional, Unethical Conduct and Abuse of Office by NDLEA”, he explained that Oritsematosan lives at Block 11, House 2B, Mobolaji Johnson Estate Marwa, Lekki Phase 1, Lagos State.

The structure, he said, comprised a four-bedroom duplex with two-bedroom boys’ quarters and one room guest chalet.

He stated that the chalet was raided by team B of Lagos State Command led by Ayinde Aileru on February 5, 2023.

“Having searched her three-bedroom apartment, her Hyundai SUV Jeep and her friend’s C300 Benz car and found nothing incriminating, your officer cajoled her and her friend to accompany them to your Gbagada office at about 4pm.

“Once in your office, your officers refused to let her and her friend go as they harassed, intimidated, embarrassed and coerced them until 7.00pm when they were extorted the sum of N500,000 for their liberty.

“About 8.00pm when she and her friend were about to leave, Eddy E Ukpong, one of your senior officers again searched her car and seized her ATM Card and her colleague’s international passport inside the car, which he asked her to come back to collect along with the owner of the passport for identification,” he stated.

He explained that when his client returned home from work on Monday February 6, 2023, about 4.30pm, the entire premises had been marked, sealed and locked up.

He said the officials were acting in belief that the suspects who occupied the boys’ quarters are her relatives/friends.

The lawyer said although the occupants in the boys’ quarters were charged to court and have been convicted/fined, the officers refused to allow her access to her own apartment.

While she was waiting to gain access, he stated, officers of the Agency allegedly broke into her apartment and that of her neighbour and carted away their properties.

Omirhobo said one of the senior officers has been making sexual advances to his client on the pretense to assist her out of the predicament, which she rejected.

But during a visit to the residence of the said officer, she discovered that her ‘stolen’ belongings such as mattress, duvet, towels, scent candles, diffusers, microwave, hanger, blue box, trolley box in which she kept $2,500 and other valuables like jewelries, diamond wedding ring, gold wrist watch, gold set, and coral beads were in the officer’s personal apartment at Ajao Estate, Lagos.

He explained further that some of her belongings like human hairs and clothes were shared by female officers, while her televisions, refrigerator, two standing fans, three fancy mirrors and disposable takeaway plates were kept in the NDLEA store.

According to him, despite meeting the state commander, who described her as a victim of circumstance and promised to direct the return of all her properties, including the extorted N500,000 and unsealing of her house on June 16, 2023, the officers are yet to fully comply with the directive.

“She is not a party to Charge No. FHC/122C/2023 between Federal Republic of Nigeria & Tijani Oladapo Hakeen & 3 Ors., delivered by honourable Justice D. E. Osiagor.

“That there is no order of court empowering your officers to seal and lock up her apartment. There is no order of court empowering your officers, their servants, agents and/or privies to break into her apartment, seize and confiscate her properties.

“Your officers through their criminal, unprofessional, unethical conduct and abuse of office have caused our client who is a law-abiding Nigerian citizen untold and unbearable hardship, economic/social loss, distress, damages and psychological trauma.

“In view of the foregoing, it is our client’s instruction that we implore you to use your good offices to investigate the matter with the view of getting rid of the bag eggs in your organisation, which you have laboured so hard to give a pride of place in the eyes of the public and international community,” he prayed.

Meanwhile, the lawyer has also filed an action before a Federal High Court, Lagos on behalf of his client, praying for order of the court to unseal the house and return all seized properties.

The defendants in the suit marked FHC/L/CS/1505/23, are the NDLEA, Lagos State commander of the NDLEA, Eddy Ukpong, Ayinde Aileru and Jamal Abdullahi.

The claimant wants the court to order the defendants to pay her N200 million general, aggravated and exemplary damages.

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