NDLEA Opposes PDP’s Pursuit of Tinubu’s Prosecution over Drug Trafficking

The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, has filed a preliminary objection against a lawsuit by the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and party chieftain, Senator Dino Melaye.

The suit seeks an order of mandamus to compel the NDLEA to arrest and prosecute the president-elect, Bola Ahmed Tinubu over alleged forfeiture of funds in his US bank accounts two decades ago.

The NDLEA filed its notice of preliminary objection at the Federal High Court in Abuja on Wednesday, 26th April 2023, contending that the court lacks jurisdiction over the case.

The agency’s director of prosecution and legal services, Joseph Nbona Sunday, suggested the application is politically motivated.

“The only underlying specific interest of the 1st Applicant then becomes political in nature”, Sunday said. He added that the efforts to prosecute Tinubu were aimed at disqualifying him from the February 25th 2023 presidential election.

The NDLEA argued that the order of mandamus should only be applied for in good faith and not to achieve political goals. “The Doctrine of Judicial Self-restraint precludes this Honourable Court from delving into matters with political colouration or matters aimed at getting direct or indirect political goals”, Sunday stated.

The agency further posited that the judgment of the US District Court of the Northern District of Illinois Eastern Division, which forms the foundation of the PDP application, was given “with prejudice” and therefore carries no judicial value.

In a sworn affidavit, Chia Cosmas Depunn, a litigation officer attached to the NDLEA, affirmed the agency’s independence and lack of political affiliation. He stated that the name of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu “has never featured in the exchanges we had with the United States of America.”

Depunn asserted that the PDP and Melaye have not submitted any information or intelligence on Tinubu relating to illicit drug activities until 17th January 2023.

The officer also argued that the court lacked jurisdiction over the suit and that both the PDP and Melaye lack the locus standi to institute the suit. He concluded by urging the court to dismiss the case with substantial cost, arguing that the cause of action of the Applicants is legally unsustainable.

As of the time of this report, representatives of the PDP and Senator Melaye have not responded to the NDLEA’s objections.

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