BY JON GAMBRELL
Story culled from yahoo news…
Investigators detained the famous Nigerian comedian at the airport, accusing him of swallowing narcotics before trying to board a flight to Paris. But after more than two weeks of observation, Baba Suwe has given up no drugs.
That “somebody of Baba Suwe’s popularity, somebody of his standing in the Nigerian society, somebody’s who’s so famous can be hauled into detention without any attempt of filing a charge against him, that tells you we may have several thousand people languishing in (drug agency) detention centers with no access to justice,” Bamidele Aturu said.
Baba Suwe, whose real name is Babatunde Omidina, is a popular figure in Nigeria’s robust national film industry known as Nollywood. He provides comic relief in films as a butler or a security guard in some films, or as the lead actor in movies spoken in his native Yoruba language.
Such searches remain common in Nigeria, as drug enforcement agents conduct selective searches, usually focusing on travelers who fit the profile of a possible drug courier. It remains unclear why agents specifically pulled Baba Suwe out of line, as his lawyer said Tuesday that their selection came after authorities received “information” about his client.
Except no drugs have come out.
On Tuesday, Baba Suwe appeared in a federal high court in Lagos to challenge his continued detention without charges. His case brought out fans who lined the court compound’s fence, peering through the slates to catch a glimpse of the diminutive star.
“As a public person, it’s an embarrassment to him and his fans,” said Sunday Iyip, 43, who works as a security guard.
The case also has proven to be a high-profile embarrassment for the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, which parades a series of suspects before journalists to show its efforts to stop drug trafficking.
Despite its campaign, Nigeria remains a major transit point for illegal drugs. Between January and October 2010, Nigeria’s drug agency seized more than 400 pounds (some 180 kilograms) of cocaine and more than 90 pounds (more than 40 kilograms) of heroin in Lagos, home to the nation’s busiest airport, according to a recent U.S. State Department report.