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Hotelier Drags NDLEA To National Human Rights Commission Over ‘Unlawful Invasion, Destruction Of Property, Theft Of N50m Gold Chain’

Posted by Samuel on Wed 06th Mar, 2024 -

The petitioner also accused the personnel of the anti-narcotics agency led by ACN Adekunle Oduola of stealing his gold necklace worth N50 million.

Ayobami Moses Idowu

Mr. Ayobami Moses Idowu, a hotelier, has lodged a petition with the National Human Rights Commission, accusing personnel of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) of the purported illegal invasion and destruction of his property in Lagos State.

The petitioner also accused the personnel of the anti-narcotics agency led by ACN Adekunle Oduola of stealing his gold necklace worth N50 million.

Idowu in the petition dated March 3, 2024, and addressed to the Director General of NHRC, Anthony Ojukwu (SAN), appealed to the commission for justice.

The petition written through his counsel, Chief Mutairu Aliu of Complete Solicitors and Advocates law firm is titled: "Unlawful Invasion Of The Residence And Place Of Business Of Mr Ayobami Moses Idowu by Men of National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) led by ACN Adekunle Oduola In Violation Of Our Client's Constitutional Rights Under the Constitution."

Lamenting the invasion of his properties without any court order, the lawyer said his client is a law-abiding Nigerian, employer of labour, caring husband and a role model for hundreds of youths in the Ijaye Ojokoro area of the state, where he lives and does his business over a decade now.

The counsel explained that his client is also the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of D&G Motor Dealer Enterprises Limited and D&G Hotel, Events and Suites, where many Nigerian youths and adults work and earn their living.

According to him, the hotel is one of the best in the area and it has become the destination of tourists because of its flourishing vehicle showroom.

The law firm also disclosed that the hotelier despite not having any dark business record had remained a soft target for an NDLEA team currently led by Oduola, who took over the leadership of the team and continued from where the previous ones stopped by using invasion threats to extort money.

The firm said failure to get what they wanted led to a midnight raid at the client’s property in search of drugs to embarrass and destabilise his business.

The petitioner cited other occasions where the same NDLEA team allegedly invaded his property because he refused to be extorted. He said he got a call on February 29, 2024 from Oduola to come with money otherwise they would raid his properties.

The petition read, "Prior to the recent invasion on the 29th of February, our client got a call from the team leader, ACN Adekunle Oduola, who again requested money, with a threat that failure to comply would lead to the invasion of our client's hotel, his house and any other place he has business interests, an ultimatum within which to act.

“Our client disagreed, he was unwilling to part with any sum because he is sure of his business, but with strong persuasion from his friend, a fellow hotelier, who knows too well the havoc such invasion could wreck on his businesses, advised him to comply with their demand. On the strength of that advice, N2 million was sent to an account provided, bearing the name of one Samuel Oluseye Olasupo, a member of the team led by ACN Adekunle Oduola.

"At about 12.07 am on Thursday 29th February 2024, the hotelier's premises at Yusuf Street in Ojokoro area was invaded by over 40 men of the agency. His compound was broken into and his security door damaged by the rampaging NDLEA officers, without a proper search warrant served him or any form of invitation extended to him officially.

"During the invasion, our client's and his entire family were away to the new rented apartment in Sango Otta, Ogun State, where they now reside, due to the incessant harassment from ACN Adekunle Oduola and his team. Though, he still left many of his valuables (which includes his gold chain of 680.1 GRM) in the house due to the heavy security arrangement in the house.

“The whole of the house was ransacked by these men and in the process, all the doors were broken down and left unlocked, and they left without any record of any incriminating exhibits against our client.”

The lawyer noted that without any incriminating evidence, they (operatives) left his house and invaded his hotel on Clem Road, Ijaye Ojokoro, shooting indiscriminately and leaving everybody in the facility in fear.

He added, "At the hotel, they broke into every room where customers lodged, so many the doors broken into with impunity, ransacked all the apartments including those logged and those not logged. At the end, nothing incriminating was found in any of the rooms. All the unlawful activities were captured by the CCTV Camera in the hotel.

"When our client came back the following morning, he met all the doors to his house unlocked and upon search, he discovered his golden neck chain worth over fifty million naira (N50,000,000) had been carted away among many other valuable items like phones, wrist watches among others."

The counsel informed the NHRC that their client had lost most of his regular customers after the “embarrassing and unconstitutional assault on them, making it extremely difficult for the hotel to meet business projections, while it has become impossible to meet financial obligations to the banks where loans were obtained to construct the facility”.

Appealing to the NHRC for urgent intervention, the law firm said the continuous invasion of their client's home and business premises for no just cause has a strong capability to cripple his business and run him out of business.

"And the likely effect is disengagement and sacking of over 30 workers who depend on the businesses to feed their families,"
it said.

"We, therefore, call on you, with the utmost respect, to use your good office to investigate and protect the fundamental rights and liberty of our client from these greedy men who are using the instrumentality of government to torment Nigerians, including our client."

When SaharaReporters contacted the NDLEA for a reaction over the invasion of the property and the petition, it said the raid was authorised.

The NDLEA spokesman, Femi Babafemi, said: "The raid on the hotel was duly authorized because the owner is a wanted suspect.”

He was silent on the allegation of theft of a gold chain worth N50 million. He also did not say if anything incriminating was found during the raid.

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