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CRIME

Maxwell Dul A Policeman Not An Armed Robber Witness Tells Panel

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* IIP-SARS Orders Release Moses Mfe’s  Body To Family*

A witness, Mr Ndam Tokbe before the Independent Investigative panel on Human Rights Violation by the Defunct   SARS and other Units of the Nigerian Police Force Thursday told the IIP-SARS that Maxwell Dul who was extra-judicially killed was a police officer.

Tokbe who was led in evidence by DG Dashe, a complainant and counsel in the matter narrated how it all happened on that fateful day.

According to the witness sometime in February 2019 while in his office at Apapa in Lagos he received a call that Maxwell was arrested and was told to come to the police station at the Railway for more details. On reaching the station he (Tokbe) was informed by Maxwell’s colleagues that Maxwell was arrested the previous day.

Furthermore, the witness said he was told by the officers that Maxwell was hit by a bike man who was riding his bike on one way, he insisted on arresting the bike man and taking him to the police station for breaking traffic rules.

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On the other hand, the witness narrated that the bike man raised an alarm that Maxwell wanted to collect his bike and this attracted the attention of the public.

Meanwhile, the witness told the panel that Maxwell was taken to Denton Police station upon his arrest and he went there in the company of other police officers who are his colleagues to identify him.

“But after staying the whole day they were not allowed to see him. They left to return the next day and upon returning the next day they were told the case has been transferred to SARS in Ikeja”, the witness stated.

According to him, when they returned the next day they were told at SARS that Maxwell was dead.

According to the witness, when they asked for his corpse they were told that it had been deposited at mainland hospital, Yaba, Lagos state and the case file transferred to Panti, Lagos for further investigation. He said the police asked him to mobilise them for the case to be reopened. At Panti, the witness said they asked for the corpse and were told he is an armed robber therefore the government will bury the corpse.

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However, the witness said after much ado, the police gave him a written letter stamped with the deceased photograph and he used it to identify the corpse at the hospital.

Tkobe said he did identify that it was indeed Maxwell but he said he noticed bruises on the body and one of his eyes was opened the other closed which he said was a result of torture.

Also testifying before the panel the deceased sister Maryamu Maxwell told the panel that she was told by her uncle that Maxwell her brother is dead.

According to her she quickly called upon Mr. Ndam Tkobe and DG Dashe Esq to confirm the news.

Leading her in evidence, Mr. Dashe said she brought out an identity card with a photograph to show that the deceased was indeed a police officer,  which he as the counsel decides to tendered to the panel as an exhibit.

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The Chairman of the panel who was represented by Garba Tetengi SAN has asked the police to produce all the respondents in the matter to enable the panel to unravel the truth.

Meanwhile, the police have asked for an adjournment to enable them open defense, and the matter was adjourned till the 1st of December 2021.

Meanwhile, the Independent Investigation Panel on allegations of Human Rights Violations by SARS and other units of the Police Force on Thursday ordered the Nigerian Police to release the body of late Moses Mfe to his family for burial.

Dr. Garba Tetengi (SAN) who made this order while presiding the 11-Member panel on behalf of the Chairman, Justice Suleiman Galadima (rtd) agreed with complainants’ counsel N.T. Utsaha that since the Police have informed the panel about the death of Moses Mfe, the proper thing will be for the panel to order the release of his corpse to his family.

The counsel accordingly made an oral application to the panel for the release of Mfe’s corpse and it was granted.

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Besides, Utsaha told the panel that there is a need to investigate the circumstances of the death of Moses Mfe in the interest of justice.

Prior to the above, Utsaha told the panel that it appears that the police are not interested in continuing with the matter even when it is necessary to unravel the truth about the matter.

He recalled that the order of the panel that Tersoo Toona who the Police alleged was an armed robber with the late Mfe should be taken to Makurdi, Benue state for trial was carried out.

He further informed the jurists that the order for arraignment was obeyed by the Police and that the suspect was granted bail and was subsequently released from prison pending trial.

It will be recalled that the panel had in November 2020 ordered the police to arraign Raphael Tersoo Toona before a competent court of jurisdiction in Benue State on or before December 23, 2020.

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Two suspects: Raphael Tersoo Toona and Moses Mfe, had through their Counsel, Utsaha, petitioned the panel, alleging arbitrary arrest and detention as well as cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment.

They joined one Inspector Vincent Makinde of the Inspector-General of Police Intelligence Response Team; Commander, IGP-IRT, FCT Commissioner of Police; and IGP in the suit.

The Panel Chairman made the order for Toona’s arraignment, following Utsaha’s application for either his conditional or unconditional release on bail, pending the hearing of the petition.

The case was adjourned for a report of the panel.

Similarly, Counsel to the police, Mr. Fidelis Ogwobe, in an oral submission before the Independent Investigative Panel on allegations of human rights violations by the defunct Special Anti – Robbery Squad (SARS) and other units of the Nigerian Police, disclosed that there is no medical report or any other document to substantiate that Mr. Francis ogbaji was subjected to gross human rights violation by the police as alleged

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In the case of alleged arbitrary detention, torture, cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, before the panel, Mr. Ogwobe said “The petitioner has failed woefully to prove the allegation of torture cruel inhuman and degrading treatment against him by the respondent (police) in the petition”.

He said there is no evidence from the petitioner, to support the allegation before the panel that the police starved, tortured and handcuffed his wrists, resulting in injuries on his wrists, and his subsequent unlawful detention for 35 days on the order ACP Mantu of State Criminal Investigation Department( SCID) FCT.

The police counsel buttressed this point by relying on the Evidence Act of 2011 that regulates the admissibility, relevance, and other processes relating to the use of evidence in a legal proceeding.

Citing sections 131 and 133 of the Evidence Act which provides  that the burden and standard of proof  in any proceedings lies on  anyone who desires judgment on any legal right, the person should present facts  and must prove that those facts exist  beyond a reasonable doubt, this he (Ogwobe) stated are lacking in the petitioner’s submission

Ogwobe disclosed to the 11 man panel that Ogbaji was arrested by the police for the offence of armed robbery and under Section 1(2b) of the Robbery &Firearms Special Provision describes armed robbery as a capital offence.

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Continuing his oral address, Ogwobe stated that Section 35(7) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 provides that any offence that falls under capital offence, the suspect will not enjoy the right of being held in detention beyond 48 hours maximum, before being charged to court.

From the foregoing, the allegation that he was detained for 35 days does not substantiate the breach of his right. Ogwobe concluded by urging the panel to dismiss the petition.

The Counsel to the Petitioner, Duhu Nnaemeka in his written address which was dated and filed on 19th November 2021 and adopted by the panel urged the panel to enforce the fundamental rights of Ogbaji and a public apology from the Police.

 

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CRIME

NDLEA Arrests Three Wanted Drug Kingpins, Intercepts Oman-Bound Drug Shipment

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Suspects

The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) arrested three members of an organised criminal organisation that specialises in illicit drug trafficking in Nigeria, South Africa, Mozambique, Europe, and America more than two months after they were declared wanted.

Their arrest followed the recent seizure of the single largest consignment of heroin at Lagos’ Murtala Muhammed International Airport.

According to a statement issued on Sunday by the anti-narcotics agency’s spokesman, Femi Babafemi, a total of 51.9 kilogrammes of heroin were recovered from members of the drug cartel during an operation that began on February 10th, 2024 at the SAHCO Import Shed of the Lagos Airport Cargo Terminal.

He recalled that the consignment was concealed in 15 cartons of 2300-watt metal cutting machines, with no less than 45 blocks of the illicit substance weighing 49.70 kilogrammes recovered from the equipment, and an additional 2.2 kilogrammes seized at the syndicate’s warehouse in Lagos’ Ayobo area.

He stated that while the agency obtained an interim forfeiture court order on hotels, mansions, vehicles, and funds traced to syndicate members after apprehending four of them, a manhunt was also launched for those who went underground.

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He stated that the effort paid off last Friday, when two of the wanted kingpins, Onyinyechi Igbokwuputa and Frankline Uzochukwu, were apprehended in Lagos and Awka, Anambra state, respectively, with another wanted member of the syndicate, Osita Obinna, apprehended in Lagos.

According to Babafemi, NDLEA officers foiled a suspect, Iheakara Ifeanyichukwu,’s attempt to export a drug consignment through Terminal 2 of Lagos Airport to Muscat, Oman via Ethiopian Airlines flight last Thursday. When his luggage was searched, 20 big parcels of cannabis weighing 9.80 kilogrammes were discovered concealed in his bag.

Iheakara, who lives in Muscat, Oman and returned to Nigeria on 1st April, in his statement confessed he was hired to courier the drug with an agreement to get paid N1.2 million upon successful delivery in Oman.

Babafemi revealed that In Adamawa state, NDLEA operatives last Saturday intercepted a Peugeot car driven by Dahiru Mohammed at Girei on his way to Mubi with 1,250,000 pills of opioids weighing 450 kilogrammes. The operatives had earlier intercepted along Ngurore -Yola road a J5 bus marked AAA790XV loaded with motor spare parts from Onitsha, Anambra State, with consignments of codeine syrup and tramadol concealed in-between the motor parts. A follow up operation led to the arrest of the recipient, Jairus Nwanchor at Jambutu motor park .

He said three suspects: Beriakuma Chinrdu, 40; Okpor Isaac, 68, and Daniel Onyeachom, 42, were last Saturday arrested at Amarata,Yenagoa, Bayelsa state in connection with the seizure of 69 compressed blocks of cannabis weighing 36 kilogrammes and concealed in a false compartment of a Toyota Picnic car marked MUS 711 DH they were travelling in. This is even as NDLEA operatives in Imo state last Thursday arrested Kingsley Omeje, 41, at Amajeke, Owerri while he was taking delivery of 49 bottles of codeine syrup he ordered.

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In Ondo state, NDLEA operatives raided the Oloro camp in Ogbese, Akure North local government area, arresting Linus Odogwu, 50, and destroying 25,000 kilogrammes of cannabis on 10 hectares of farmland while recovering 89.5 kilogrammes of the same substance. Three other suspects: David Ekepenyoung, 22; Oluwaseun Folorunso, 23; and Rabiu Musa, 32, were nabbed in other parts of the state in connection to different seizures totaling 77 kilogrammes .

Babafemi said NDLEA commands across the country intensified their War Against Drug Abuse (WADA) advocacy lectures.

Meanwhile, the Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of the NDLEA, Brig. Gen. Buba Marwa (Retd), while commending the officers and men of the MMIA, Adamawa, Bayelsa, Ondo, and Imo commands of the agency for their balanced efforts in the past week, also praised their counterparts across the country for intensifying their WADA advocacy lectures, thereby creating parity between their drug supply and drug demand reduction efforts.

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CRIME

NDLEA Incinerates 304,436kg, 40,042 Litres of Illicit Drugs Seized in Lagos, Ogun

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Burning of the drugs in Lagos

The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) destroyed 304,436 kilogrammes and 40,042 litres of illegal substances seized in parts of Lagos and Ogun states.

Speaking at a brief ceremony in Badagry, Lagos State, the agency’s Chairman/Chief Executive Officer, Brig Gen Buba Marwa (Retd), stated that the open destruction of the seized illicit drugs was in accordance with court orders.

Marwa appealed for more public support for ongoing efforts by his agency and other stakeholders to curb the menace of substance abuse and illicit drug trafficking in Nigeria.

He stated, “Through a routine exercise and an established process of removing dangerous substances from our society, the public destruction of confiscated illicit drugs is usually conducted at the end of their related cases in court,” and that the exhibits being destroyed were of mixed types, including illicit drugs in solid and liquid states as well as in various classes such as cocaine, heroin, cannabis, and tramadol, among others.

He revealed that the drugs were seized by NDLEA operatives across different formations of the agency in Lagos and Ogun states from January 2022 till date especially at the Lagos seaports, airports, and land borders.

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He said: “To be destroyed here today on the order of the court are solid drugs, weighing 304,436.055 kilogrammes and 40, 042. 621 litres of liquid drugs. The sheer volume of the drug haul speaks volumes about the extent of the nefarious activities of the drug underworld.”

The NDLEA boss expressed appreciation to traditional rulers, heads of security agencies, the clergy, members of NGOs and CSOs as well as other stakeholders who witnessed the ceremony.

He said: “The destruction of these seizures complies with the NDLEA Act, which mandates the Agency to destroy all drug exhibits after prosecution. We want to say that your presence here is a testament to this important occasion. To this end, we appreciate all stakeholders and members of the public for witnessing this exercise.”

Marwa used the opportunity to thank the agency’s local and international partners, particularly the American Drug Enforcement Administration (US-DEA), the United Kingdom NCA, Border Force, the Germans, the French, and the Indian NCB, among others, who had collaborated with the agency on a number of busts.

He said: “Similarly, we appreciate the Nigerian military and other law enforcement agencies such as the Customs; Immigration; Police; Civil Defence; FRSC; NFIU,NAFDAC and others that have been supporting our efforts to rid Nigeria of illicit drugs.”

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He assured them that NDLEA will not relent in its effort to end the drug scourge in the country, while calling for more public support for the activities of the agency.

He acknowledged that: “The safety of our society is the responsibility of every one of us. Every citizen shall be fulfilling his or her civic duty by assisting the Agency’s War Against Drug Abuse (WADA) campaign to clean up our communities and cities. Together, we can make this country secure.”

Lagos State governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu represented by Chairman, Badagry West Local Government, Mr. Olusegun Onilude expressed satisfaction with the efforts of NDLEA to tackle the scourge of illicit drugs in the country.

He said: “Almost all crimes and criminalities are fueled by illicit drugs, so the Lagos state government appreciates NDLEA and its leadership in their resolute fight against illicit drugs. The volume of illicit drugs being destroyed here today speak volume and every right-thinking person should be worried.”

 

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CRIME

With 50,901 Arrests, 9,034 Convictions, We Have Sent A Message To Drug Cartels, Says Marwa

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At the event

Brig Gen Mohamed Buba Marwa (Retd), Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), stated that the arrest of 50,901 drug offenders, including 46 barons, and the successful prosecution and conviction of 9,034 of them, as well as the seizure of over 7,561 tonnes of illicit substances in the last 38 months, has sent the right message to drug cartels and their kingpins that Nigeria will not tolerate their criminal activities.

Marwa stated this in Lagos on Monday during the commissioning and handover ceremony for an operational facility built and donated to the NDLEA by the British government.

He praised the British government for its generous support, noting that it would strengthen the anti-narcotics agency’s ability to combat the menace of substance abuse and illicit drug trafficking in Nigeria.

He stated: “We are here not only to commission a new building complex but also to commemorate a significant milestone in our ongoing fight against the scourge of licit and illicit drug trafficking. Today, we dedicate the newly acquired building, made possible by the generous support of the British government.

“I must begin by expressing our heartfelt appreciation to the British government for their unwavering support and invaluable contributions to our cause. Since the beginning of our collaboration, the United Kingdom has been a staunch ally in our relentless pursuit of transnational organised criminal activities, particularly in the realm of illicit drug production and trafficking.

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“This building complex is more than just a physical structure; it is also a symbol of our two countries’ long-standing partnership in the global fight against drug trafficking. It represents the culmination of years of collaboration, mutual trust, and shared determination to combat one of our society’s most serious threats.

“The magnitude of this project cannot be overstated. It will be a critical hub for data analysis and strategic planning as we work to disrupt drug trafficking networks and apprehend those responsible. With cutting-edge facilities and technology at our disposal, we are better positioned than ever to face this complex and ever-changing challenge.

“But, beyond the bricks and mortar, this building complex embodies the spirit of collaboration and solidarity that characterises our partnership with the British Government. It demonstrates what can be accomplished when nations work together with a common goal and commitment to making the world a safer place for all.

“As an agency, NDLEA has undergone a tremendous transformation, aided by partners such as the United Kingdom. Our operations have undergone significant reforms, resulting in outstanding achievements over the last three years.

“During this time, the NDLEA made significant strides in its mission to combat drug trafficking and abuse. With a total of 50,901 arrests, including the capture of 46 drug barons, our agency has demonstrated its unwavering dedication to bringing those involved in illegal drug activities to justice.

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“Additionally, the conviction of 9,034 offenders demonstrates our unwavering pursuit of accountability and deterrence in the fight against drug-related crime.

“Our seizure of 7,560,748.5 kilogrammes (7,561 tonnes) not only disrupts the flow of illegal drugs but also delivers a significant blow to the criminal networks that distribute them. We have taken decisive action against illegal drug crop cultivation through our search-and-destroy campaign against cannabis plantations, which has resulted in the destruction of 1,057.33348 hectares of cannabis farms in the last three years.”

Marwa, while acknowledging British government officials who facilitated the project’s completion, particularly Mr Dave Carter, called for the strengthening of Nigeria-UK relations. “As we enter a new chapter in our partnership, let us reaffirm our shared commitment to stepping up the fight against drug trafficking and organised crime. Let us continue to collaborate across borders and boundaries to disrupt criminal networks, intercept illegal drugs, and prosecute those who profit from the illicit drug trade.”

He stated that, while much has been accomplished during his leadership of the agency, the fight against illicit drugs is far from over. “Let us redouble our efforts with renewed vigour and determination as we work to create a safer, more secure future for future generations,” he urged.

During the ceremony, Jonny Baxter, British Deputy High Commissioner to Nigeria, expressed his continued support for the NDLEA and Nigeria. According to him, “We, the UK government, are delighted to have this long-standing relationship with the NDLEA, and I am especially delighted to have personally participated in several activities, particularly your maritime. This structure creates a diverse set of actors and capabilities to address any criminal activity.

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“We are delighted to continue our support for the NDLEA and the Nigerian government as they address what is sadly a global industry that requires a global response. I would like to join the chairman in expressing our continued support, cooperation, and, indeed, pride in working with the ladies and gentlemen of this agency, the NDLEA.”

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