Justice John Tsoho, CJ, FHC.
A Federal High Court Ikoyi, Lagos, sitting before Justice Ambrose Lewis Allagoa on Thursday October 19, 2023 activated one of its rules of discretion when it arraigned and instantly granted bail to a female staff of the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF), Miss Ekwejunor Oritsematosan who the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) charged alongside a company, Femaffix Global Services Limited of no fixed address, whose owner and CEO, one Mr. Adebanjo Abraham Olufemi, a.k.a Femi Adebanjo, now at large, are facing a 10-count charge for allegedly running a Drug Trafficking Organisation (DTO) for export of Cannabis Sativa, a drug similar in nature to Cocaine, Heroin and LSD.
Oritsematosan, a health safety environment officer of NSITF, who pleaded not guilty to the charges was allegedly wrongfully rounded up at a residence at Block 11, House 2B, Mobolaji Johnson Estate, Marwa, Lekki Phase 1, Lagos, when operatives of NDLEA raided the area and arrested her in a mistaken identity before bringing her to the court to answer the drug charges.
Following her not guilty pleading, her counsel, Chief Benson O. Ndakara told the court that he has filed bail application for the defendant and same has been served on the prosecution, adding that he was ready to move the application.
But the prosecutor, Mr Lambert Nor objected to Chief Ndakara moving the application, saying that he has not filed a counter application to it because he was served three bail applications by the defence counsel and did not know which of the three applications to respond to.
According to him, the rule of the court is that counsel should identify which of the applications he intends to move, before he can respond, adding that he would need the court’s direction.
Not satisfied with the submission of the prosecutor, Justice Allagoa asked the defendant’s counsel to move the bail application.
In moving the application, Chief Ndakara prayed the court to grant bail to the defendant in most liberal terms, informing the court that the defendant is sick, asthmatic and always having her inhaler. He also asked the court not to send the accused to the Correctional Centre pending perfection of the bail, but instead let the defendant be in the custody of NDLEA.
However, the prosecutor objected to having the defendant in the custody of NDLEA.
To resolve the controversy and in recognition of the high status of Chief Ndakara as a senior lawyer, Justice Allagoa in his bench ruling on the bail application, said:
“Bail is hereby granted to the defendant in the sum of N10 million with one surety in like sum.
“The surety must be a responsible personality with high profile of integrity. The court Registrar shall verify the means of the surety.
“The defendant shall be in the personal custody of the defence counsel, Chief Benson Ndakara, who is a senior lawyer practicing in Nigeria and a bona-fide member of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) with known addresses, until the the perfection of the bail conditions.
“The case is adjourned to November 24, 2023 for trial”.
The defendant, Ekwejunor Oritsematosan and Adebanjo’s private company, Femaffix Global Services Limited were arraigned before the court on a 10-count charge bordering on alleged formation of and operating a Drug Trafficking Organisation (DTO) for the production, processing, trafficking and exporting of 1.088 Kilogrammes of Cannabis Sativa, a drug similar to Cocaine, Heroin, LSD by using couriers.
According to the charge signed by the prosecution counsel, Lambert N. Nor, for the Attorney General of the Federation, the defendants were further alleged to have conspired with one Adebanjo Abraham Olufemi a.k.a Femi Adebanjo, now at large to convert the proceeds of illicit drug trafficking in Narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances into ostensible legitimate enterprise.
All the alleged offences were said to have been committed by the defendants between 2019 and 2023 at Block 11, Mouse 28, Mobolaji Johnson Estate, Marwa, Lekki Phase 1, Lagos, Lagos State.
According to the charge the alleged offences committed by the defendants contravened Sections 14 (b), 20 (1)(g),18 (2)(b), 11(c), 18 (2)(a), 11(b), 12, 14 (a), 49 (a) and 49 (b) of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency Act Cap N 30, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004. And punishable under sections 20 (2)(b) and 19 (1)(2) of the same Act; Section 18(2)(a) of the Money Laundering (Prevention and Prohibition) Act 2022.
COUNT 9 reads: That you Ekwejunor Oritsematosan, female, adult of Block 11, House 2B, Mobolaji Johnson Estate, Marwa, Lekki Phase 1, Lagos, Lagos State, Femaffix Global Services Limited of no fixed address, and one Adebanjo Abraham Olufemi a.k.a. Femi Adebanjo, now at large, between on or about the 22nd day of February, 2023 in Lagos, Lagos State, without lawful authority, obstructed authorised officers of the complainant from lawful duties by offering the sum of N2, 950,000 and you thereby committed an offence as provided for and punishable under Section 49(a) of the National Drug Enforcement Agency Act Cap N 30 laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004″
COUNT 10 reads: “That you Ekwejunor Oritsematosan, female, Adult, of Block 11, House 28, Mobolaji Johnson Estate, Marwa, Lekki Phase 1, Lagos, Lagos State, Femaffix Global Services Limited of No fixed Address and one Adebanjo Abraham Olufemi a.k.a Femi Adebanjo now at large between on or about the 22nd day of February, 2023 in Lagos, Lagos State following due request, without lawful authority failed to comply with lawful enquiry of authorized Officers of the Complainant and you thereby committed an offence as provided for and punishable under section 49 (b) of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency Act Cap N 30 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.”
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