Tramadol importation: Ukatu sues NDLEA, seeks N200 million compensation

AMID allegations of illegal importation of Tramadol worth N2 billion, businessman Ukatu Afamefuna Mallinson has filed a fundamental rights enforcement suit against the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) before a Lagos Federal High Court.

In the suit, Ukatu wants the court to order the NDLEA to release him “forthwith” and “unconditionally” or upon such terms as the court may deem fit.


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The NDLEA accused Ukatu of importing two containers containing 1,284 cartons of Tramadol worth N22 billion in 2019 and claimed he was behind a N3 billion shipment of Tramadol linked to a suspended Deputy Commissioner of Police Abba Kyari.

But Ukatu, asides from protesting his innocence in the suit, also averred that the NDLEA not only failed to prosecute him in court, despite there being a Federal High Court within a 40km radius of where he is being held but had also failed to grant him administrative bail since his arrest on April 13.

He prayed 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 further prayed 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 enshrined in Section 35 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) among other laws.

The applicant made the prayers in his originating summons in suit FHC/L/CS/796/2022 before Justice Nicholas Oweibo, filed by his counsel Victor Opara of Victor Opara’s Chambers.

    He further 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: 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 detention.

    Ukatu is the Managing Director of many companies, including Mallinson & Partners Ltd.

    The court has not fixed a date to hear the application.

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