My ordeal in NDLEA’s custody— Baba Suwe
The ordeal of the Nollywood actor and comedian,Babatunde Omidina, alias Baba Suwe, in the custody of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) came to an end yesterday after Justice Yetunde Idowu of the Lagos High Court granted him bail.
But that was after a 12-hour excruciating string of medical tests conducted on him at an unnamed hospital in Ikoyi, Lagos by the agency.
The tests ran from 9am last Wednesday to 9pm, according to Omidina's counsel, Mr. Bamidele Aturu.
“All his systems were flushed, other than his lungs and intestines, but nothing was found,”Aturu told the court as he advanced reasons why his client should be freed after 24 days in custory.
He said the tests were conducted without Omidina's consent.
The comedian was then asked by Justice Idowu to personally relate his experience.
He said: ”On Wednesday, they came and said we were going to the hospital. When we got there, they inserted something in my mouth and pumped water inside. Another thing was inserted in my anus and water was also pumped inside. I then began to stool. I visited the toilet six times that day. Since then, I have been visiting the toilet frequently.”
His testimony was corroborated by an official of the NDLEA said to be part of the team that took him to the hospital.
The official, who was called out by Justice Idowu, said the tests were ordered by an assistant commander in the agency and were conducted in one of NDLEA's hospitals.
Asked for the result of the tests, the official said only the doctor who conducted them could say what he found on Omidina.
Mr. Aturu wondered what the agency wanted to gain by the new tests, saying: “This is the 24th day that my client has been in their detention. They have been conducting all sorts of tests on him and found nothing. It is also noteworthy that my client did not eat on Tuesday night, apparently they were preparing him for the test”.
Aturu urged the court to refuse the request of the counsel to the NDLEA, Mr. Femi Oloruntoba, for an order to enable the agency to continue to keep Omidina in custody until November 11, 2011 when he is expected to appear at the agency's office at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Ikeja.
Oloruntoba, who said that he was not aware of the latest round of tests conducted on Omidina and that no report had been given to him as at the time the court was sitting yesterday, pleaded with Justice Idowu not to be agitated over the development.
He said that his request for the continued detention of Omidina was to enable the agency conclude its investigation at the MMIA, Ikeja on the narcotic substance he was alleged to have ingested.
The judge expressed shock at the level of degradation to which the Nollywood actor was subjected to by NDLEA officials in the last three days despite the order of the court.
“I don`t feel comfortable about that. I feel the agency should not treat him (Omidina) anyhow,” she said.
Turning to Omidina, Justice Idowu said: ”Mr. Omidina, I hereby grant you bail. You are free to go home. Go and enjoy Sallah with your family and take good care of yourself.”
She then adjourned judgment in the matter to November 24.
Baba Suwe was driven to the court in a Toyota Hiace bus marked FG 220 T02 followed by an escort, a Toyota Hilux wagon marked FG380 T02 at about 8.50a.m. He wore a cream coloured embroided jalamiah over sky blue native trousers and was without a cap.
Unlike what happened at the last trial, Omidina, whose head was clean shaved and looked tired, was whisked into the court immediately on arrival to prevent the crowd that was already building up from seeing him.
Throughout about one hour that the proceedings lasted, Omidina was only able to nod his head, while acknowledging greetings from colleagues and fans who managed to gain access to the courtroom.
Security was tight as armed policemen and court security officials had mounted guard at the entrance of the court building as early as 7.00a.m. to prevent a crowd in the courtroom.
Journalists and lawyers going inside were searched with the aid of hand scanners, while those the security men thought should not be inside, including hundreds of Nollywood actors and actresses, were politely turned back.
Immediately he stepped out of the court following the restoration of his freedom by the court, his fans swarmed round him and carried him shoulder- high, while shouting “o ya`gbe ti”.
They carried him at 10.53 am into a waiting car that sped out of the court premises immediately.