A Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Dr. Onyechi Ikpeazu, has described the plea bargain the Nigeria Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) entered into with two alleged international drug couriers last year as faulty
According to the lawyer, the plea bargain led to their release from the custody of the Nigeria Correctional Service Centre.
The senior advocate disclosed that the duo of Chibunna Patrick Umeibe and Emeka Alphonsus Ezenwanne were arrested at the car park of Enugu Airport by the operatives of the Inspector General of Police’s Response Team after they had been cleared by the NDLEA and other security officials at the International Airport in Enugu.
The IRT operatives were said to have acted on a credible information by a whistleblower.
Ikpeazu said it smacks of complicity on the part of the NDLEA to allow the drug traffickers and their sponsors walk the street while the policemen who through diligent work arrested them are in prison.
He wondered why the NDLEA has continued to object to bail and has done everything possible to ensure the policemen do not get bail.
The senior lawyer who spoke after the hearing of the case in court, explained that a good defence helps a judge to determine where guilt or innocence will lie, adding that men of the Police IRT are “persons that have added considerable value to society in many ways.”
According to him, the illicit drugs in dispute were intercepted by the IRT team at the parking lot of an airport, meaning that they must have been cleared to come into Nigeria by relevant authorities, including the NDLEA and not the police.
“When you look at the case itself and ask what precipitated the charge? It was that the Police IRT Unit was able to do that which the NDLEA was unable to do.
“They (IRT) were able to detect a drug cartel that had isolated the Enugu Airport (from Brazil to Ethiopia to Enugu Airport) for their drug transaction and they disseminate drugs all over the Federal Republic of Nigeria”, he said.
He said that it was ironic for the civilians that trafficked the drugs to be freed from prison because they entered into a plea bargain with the NDLEA which is an agency of the federal government.
“The people that imported drugs, the drugs were not concealed, they were tendered in court; and the people that imported such demonic and dangerous substances to be circulated to our children will walk (out of prison), while the people that intercepted them for prosecution are now being prosecuted.
“Authorities at the NDLEA and the Federal Correctional Services have confirmed that the duo of Chibunna Patrick Umeibe and Emeka Alphonsus Ezenwanne, who pleaded guilty in court to charges of peddling hard and illicit drugs, entered into plea bargain with the NDLEA to serve just 16 months in prison as against 28 years that their offence ordinarily ought to have earned them”.
It could be recalled that the Policemen serving in the IRT arrested Chibunna Patrick Umeibe and Emeka Alphonsus Ezenwanne, at the car park of the Akanu Ibiam International Airport in Enugu on January 19, 2022, following a tip-off by a whistle blower.
The two drug peddlers had successfully evaded NDLEA and other security agents at the airport and were are the verge of leaving the airport vicinity when the police officers on the IRT unexpectedly apprehended them and the drugs they had just ferried into the country.
Findings have also shown that the plea bargain with the drug couriers and their early release from prison may be breeding tension between the Police and the NDLEA.
A senior Police source, who spoke on condition of anonymity insisted in a chat that their colleagues may have been shortchanged in the drug burst and demanded that the Inspector General of Police, IGP Usman Alkali Baba, prevail on President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to order a high-level probe of the handling of the matter by the leadership of the NDLEA.
“Something is not right about this case at all. The police had swooped on the two after the whistle-blower revealed all their movements and activities right from Brazil to Ethiopia and Nigeria via the Enugu Airport. They arrived at Enugu Airport with over 21kg of drugs full to the brim in their 2 carry-on bags. Shockingly, despite the presence of all security agents including the men of the NDLEA at the airport, they were cleared,” the Police Officer added.
A number of Senior Police Officers are said to be particularly worried about the condition of ACP Sunday Ubua and his family.
According to them, Ubua, who was the Second-in-Command at the IRT, according them, knew next to nothing about the incident but currently being prosecuted and persecuted because he refused to ‘cooperate’ with the NDLEA against DCP Abba Kyari.
“He is languishing in prison while his wife is the hospital down with cancer and nobody is taking care of the children. This is so sad,” the Senior Police Officer added.
Anti-rape body applauds judge for Life sentence of pharmacist over Sodomy
***Plans to honour Justice Akanbi-Yusuf
A foremost campaigner against Sexual and Gender Based Violence (Men Against Rape Foundation (MARF) has commended Justice Asmau Akanbi-Yusuf of the Abuja High Court for her verdict in the case brought against a pharmacist, Dr. Abubakar Mustapha Danraka for sodomising a – twelve year old boy.
Danraka was a former Chief Pharmacist of the National Hospital, Abuja, and Senior Special Adviser (Technical) to the Director of the National Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development.
Delivering her judgment on September 18, 2023, Justice Akanbi-Yusuf found Dr. Danraka guilty of rape (sodomy) of the minor after luring him to his apartment and spiking his drink. He was charged and tried under Section 1 of the VAPP Act of 2015.
Reacting to the verdict, the Executive Director of Men Against Rape Foundation (MARF), Lemmy Ughegbe described the judgment of the court as a giant step in ridding the society of pedophiles and all sorts of sexual perverts.
In an electronic statement released by MARF and signed by the Executive Director, Ughegbe, he commended the judge “for being courageous, progressive and clear minded about the gravity of the crime committed against the innocent minor and the society.”
“This judgment demonstrates the zero tolerance of Justice Akanbi-Yusuf for rape, sodomy and sundry acts of sexual perversion. While we commend her for boosting our efforts to create safe spaces for our children and women by delivering a verdict that will serve as a deterrent to other sex predators, we call on other judges to emulate her proactive disposition towards eliminating sex crimes or putting away perpetrators for life”, Ughegbe stated.
“Our society is in direct straits of judges like Justice Akanbi-Yusuf and we must specially salute her for her judgment, which has and will go a long way in helping to save the society and our children from predators.
The Executive Director of MARF said the organisation has already resolved to present a special recognition award to Justice Akanbi-Yusuf for her landmark judgement, which will deter perpetrators and in turn make the society safer for children.
“This special award will not only serve as recognition of her progressive disposition to protecting children, it will also send a message to other judges that their work is being keenly observed and will get the needed recognition at the appropriate time”, he added.
Meanwhile, Ughegbe has also commended the dynamic and tireless leadership of the Director General of National Agency for Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), Prof. Fatima Waziri-Azi.
Her doggedness in leading the NAPTIP team has culminated in prosecuting the instant case successfully.
Physician slumps, dies after over working for 72 hours nonstop
A medical doctor at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, Idi-Araba, has reportedly slumped and died.
It was gathered that he carried out a 72-hour surgery without a break at the neurosurgery unit.
The Association of Resident Doctors made the disclosure in a letter dated September 19, which was addressed to LUTH’s chief medical director.
The doctors in the letter titled ‘’An Appeal By The House Officers Of LUTH’’ accused their senior colleagues of bullying, giving them stressful call hours without breaks, and not providing feeding and good accommodation.
The letter in part reads
“We the house officers are in deep grief over the loss of our colleague, a co-House officer (Dr Umoh Michael) who died on 17th September, 2023, after having a 72hrs call in Neurosurgery Unit. He is said to have been on call 72hrs before arriving home on Sunday morning to get set for church service, reaching his worship center (United Evangelical Church) where he slumped in the church at about 11am.
His roommate attested to the fact that Umoh Michael has barely slept in their apartment over the past one week as he was always on call or the day he returns home is around 3am after surgeries and other activities in Neurosurgery Unit.”
The protest letter pointed out that the doctors have long standing challenges since they resumed housemanship in the hospital and that one of the most striking challenges they face is the bullying they receive from their senior colleagues, stressful call hours without breaks in between, no call food, no good accommodation.”
They demanded that “house officers who did call the previous day, should be allowed either half day the next day or allowed to resume work by midday the following day” and that “house officers should not be made to work 48hrs at stretch.”
“The compulsory House check at the beginning of House job should be free or grossly subsidised for House officers. Our senior colleagues (senior registers and registrars) should make the work environmentally friendly for us; House officers should not do the work of potters, nurses, or patient relatives,’ the letter added
The teaching hospital is yet to comment on this development.
NURTW draws President Tinubu’s attention to an attempted coup on the Union
***Asks President Tinubu to speak up over the unlawful invasion of their Abuja office
***says attempt to hand over their union as a war booty will fail
The National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) has called on President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to immediately speak up over the attack on its national secretariat on Monday by a group of thugs and hoodlums who claimed to be acting on orders from above.
They said as a democrat and Chairman of ECOWAS leading troops to Niger over the forceful takeover of government in that country, he should not allow his men under his watch forcefully overthrow the elected leadership of a Trade Union.
A group who claimed to be Park Management Committee from Lagos, Ogun and Osun were alleged to have mobilized thugs and hoodlums to attack the National Secretariat of the union located at Garki 2 Abuja where injuries were inflicted on their members while the police and operatives of Department of State Services (DSS) looked the other way.
The National President, Comrade Baruwa Tajudeen who addressed a press conference at the NUJ press Center in Abuja on Monday said the police gave the hoodlums tacit approval and backing to carry out the attack adding that when they demanded to know the reason for the invasion they were told that it was an order from above.
According to him many of their members were injured in the attack.
“The events that unfolded earlier today are deeply troubling. We were dismayed to witness a large contingent of police officers, accompanied by thugs and hoodlums, under the directive of the IGP, cordoning off and invading our National Headquarters; the National Union of Road Transport Workers, situated in Abuja.
“This alarming act was carried out with the intent to undermine the democratically elected leadership of our Union, led by Comrade Baruwa to install a puppet leadership from Lagos State.
“We must emphasize that the interference of the Government in the internal affairs of a Trade Union, as witnessed today, is a blatant violation of democratic principles.
“It does not only contradict the established legal processes for addressing industrial disputes in Nigeria, as enshrined in our Constitution but also portrays the Nigeria Police Force, under the IGP’s leadership, as a violator of the very laws it is mandated to uphold.
“The National Union of Road Transport Workers questions the source of the IGP’s authority to intervene in trade union matters, especially when neither the Nigeria Police Force nor the IGP holds the role of a legal arbitrator in industrial disputes.
“We are perplexed by the IGP’s disregard for the rule of law and the Constitution, which, if allowed to persist, will undoubtedly lead to a breakdown of law and order in our beloved nation.
“We remind all stakeholders that Nigeria remains a democracy, and it is imperative for the government to uphold democratic principles in all its dealings.
“Attempting to overthrow a democratically elected leadership within NURTW or any trade union for that matter not only contradicts international labor conventions but also undermines the very essence of democracy in Nigeria, which the government is duty-bound to protect.
He called on all the state chapters to begin mobilization across the nation to resist this attempt at taking over their Union.
“Our Union is not a war booty that can be handed over as a trophy to anyone as a compensation for whatever reasons. We urge the IGP to immediately withdraw the police operatives and associated hoodlums from our National Secretariat.
“We strongly implore the Nigeria Police Force to cease interfering in the affairs of our Union and to refrain from further actions that jeopardize the rights and privileges of Nigerian workers and citizens.
“Should these unlawful actions persist, we, as responsible stakeholders in the labor movement, may be compelled to take necessary steps to protect the rights and interests of our members and the Nigerian people as a whole.
“Nigerians must unite to condemn these actions, as they represent a dangerous slide toward despotism and a disregard for democratic values.
“We call on the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) to immediately take steps to save our great Union from the clutches of the forces of retrogression that are bent on hijacking it.
“We may be the target today but we know that the ultimate target is a take over of the entire trade union movement.
“It is said that what we condone today may come to haunt us tomorrow.”
According to him, intimidating and harassing trade union leaders and resorting to gestapo-style invasions of trade union secretariats are not the path to achieving the government’s stated objectives. “Our nation must operate within the bounds of established rules and regulations, and government agencies must be at the forefront of upholding these principles. “Any deviation from this course undermines our nation and leads to suboptimal outcomes for all.
*Finally, we reiterate our unwavering commitment to the principles of democracy, justice, and workers’ rights.
“We call on all well-meaning Nigerians to join us in condemning these actions and safeguarding our nation’s democratic values.”
The chairman of the FCT Chapter of the Union Alhaji Ibrahim Sanda Kuje who earlier addressed a press conference alleged that some aggrieved members of the Union from Lagos State led by Alh. Tajudeen Agbede Badru and former President of the Union, Alhaji Najeem Usman Yasin led a group of thugs with the support of Lagos State Chairman of Parks and Management, Alhaji Musiliu Akinsanya (MC Oluomo) attacked the National Secretariat and injured many of our staff in the presence of security operatives deployed to prevent breakdown of law and order.
“It is worrisome to know that the Nigerian Police, Operatives of Department of State Services (DSS) and Nigerian Army were deployed to provide cover for these intruders who operated freely under the watch of armed security agents.
“They attacked and chased away all the National officers including the National President while the police watched them.
“We appeal to our members across the states to remain calm but be on standby.
“We hereby use this medium to call President Ahmed Bola Tinubu to intervene as a matter of urgency and necessity to avoid any breakdown of law and order in the Federal Capital Territory ( FCT ) .
“The President should also call the Nigerian police and DSS to order and stop giving unnecessary backing to the disgruntled element who are out to cause confusion.
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