Justice Ambrose Lewis-Allagoa of a Lagos Federal High Court, has ordered that the monies found in the bank account of an alleged drug dealer, David Chukwuma Ugwu, who is now on the run, be forfeited in the interim, to the federal government of Nigeria.

Justice Lewis-Allagoa made the interim forfeiture order, while granting an Exparte application brought before the court, filed and argued by Mr. Abu Ibrahim, a lawyer from the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA).

The alleged drug dealer’s bank accounts which Justice Lewis-Allagoa forfeited to the federal government is Access Bank Plc Account No 0032668458.

The judge held that the order will subsisting until the arrest and prosecution of the respondent, David Chukwuma Ugwu.

Abu has approached the court for the interim forfeiture order in a suit marked FHC/L/CS/20812022.

Abu has told the court interim forfeiture order sought for is pursuant to 44(2)(k) of the Constitution of the Federal Repubiic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended in 2011); Sections 3(1)(a)(c); 27(1)(a)(b); 32(c),33(1)(a)(b); (2)(a)(b); 34 and 36 (a)(b) of the NDLEA Act Cap. N30, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria and under the court’s inherent jurisdiction.

NDLEA in an affidavit in support of the Exparte motion, deposed to by one of its litigation officers Nnanna Alamezie, stated that he was informed by Tyav Ahanaba John, the Investigating narcotic Officer of this case on October 31, 2022, that one Madojemu Abiodun Titilayo was arrested at SAHCOL shield of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport Ikeja-Lagos with 880Grams of Cannabis Sativa concealed inside palm oil, on September 21, 2022.

The deponet stated that in the course of investigation, one Vitus Aneziechukwu Stephen, was arrested with the assistance of the men of IGP’s Response Team at Maraba, Abuja. And that the said Vitus Aseziechukwu Stephen further implicated the respondent, as the person who sent him to export the said drugs and also paid the sum of N310, 000, 00, for the freight charges. 
The deponet stated further that while Vitus Aneziechukwu Stephen was in the NDLEA’s custody, the respondent, David Chukwuma Ugwu, sent the sum of N900, 000, 00, as bribe for the release of Vitus Aneziechukwu Stephen. And that the sum of N1,210, 000 million, were all traced to the Access Bank Plc Account No 0032668458 in the name of David Chukwuma Ugwu.

He stated that the said Vitus Aneziechukwu Stephen was arraigned before this Honourable Court Coram D. E. Osiagor on October 14, 2022, convicted and sentenced on October 24, 2022 to a concurrent sentence of three years imprisonment or a cumulative sentence of N400, 000, 00.

He stated that further investigation into the case revealed that the respondent, David Chukwuma Ugwu, is now at large having escaped to Dubai upon being aware of the arrest of Vitus Aneziechukwu Stephen. And that the said sum of N1, 210 million, tendered and received as Exhibits 3, which was also ordered forfeited to the Federal Government of Nigeria and to be paid by the Deputy Chief Registrar to the Treasury Single Account (TSA) of the Government. 

He stated that he reasonably believed that the monies was receipts/proceeds of drug dealing of the respondent which were traced during investigation to the Access Bank Pic Account No 0032668458 in the name of David Chukwuma Ugwu. 

He also stated that he was informed by Barrister Abu Ibrahim on October 31, 2022, that the NDLEA has statutory and constitutional powers to seize assets which are reasonably believed to be proceeds of an offence provided for or defined under the NDLEA Act. 

And that the orders of the Court are necessary to keep these financial assets of the respondents lawfully in the custody of the NDLEA, in order to preserve these assets and to prevent their disposal by the Respondent pending the arrest and prosecution of the Respondent.

He stated that the orders being sought for are statutory, mandatory and preservatory. And that it is the proprietary interest of the respondent in the said financial asset is still protected by the statute. 

Justice Lewis-Allagoa after hearing the NDLEA lawyer, Mr. Abu, ordered that the bank accounts which Justice Lewis-Allagoa forfeited to the federal government monies in Access Bank Plc Account No 0032668458.

The judge also ruled that the order will subsist, until the arrest and prosecution of the respondent, David Chukwuma Ugwu.