How Abuja Lawyer Challenging Babandede’s Tenure Extension Landed In Detention

By Ikeddy ISIGUZO

DAVID Daudu Makolo is an Abuja-based lawyer who firmly believes in the powers of the law to ensure justice for all. He has used the law in a series of petitions, suits, and media presentations on Mohammed Babandede, the Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Immigration Service, NIS.

His myriad of allegations against Babandede has spanned through corruptions, harassment, murder, threat to life and to the latest – illegal occupation of the office of Comptroller-General of the NIS.

The allegation of illegal occupation of office, according to Makolo, issued from the extension of Babandede’s tenure. Tenure extension is a much-criticised policy that the President has used generously for the heads Army, Air Force, Navy, and the Nigeria Civil Security and Defence Corps. Why is Babandede’s case different?

Makolo petitioned the Minister of Interior Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola on 25 June 2020, stating that Babandede joined the NIS in June 1985. He had completed his 35 years of service, as the law prescribes, and had to go. All Babandede’s actions since 13 June 2020, according to Makolo, were illegal. They had to be reversed, Makolo noted in the petition that he personally signed and sent through his law firm Mackay Chambers & Associates.

He copied the petition to six high government officials, among them the National Security Adviser to the President.

Monday, 9 August 2020, the law he so believes in was applied on Makolo. “Makolo, put up a grossly damaging publication on Desert Herald, an online news media, wherein he made unprintable allegations against our client. Therein, he again called for the sack of our client on the grounds that our client’s engagement is against the laws he knows. As if the above are not offensive and evil enough, on the 9th day of July, 2020, Mr. Daniel Daudu Makolo again took his campaigns of calumny and character assassination to Arise TV News where he ranted endless prevarications and unscrupulous falsehood for thirty (30) minutes,” Abubakar E. Animiokhali, of Abubakar E. Animiokhali & Co. Chambers, acting for Babandede, wrote to the Commissioner of Police of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.

“Our client, who does not believe in the use of self-help, has been stretched to the limit of his patience and tolerance with the inordinate and dastardly dispositions of Mr. Daniel Daudu Makolo. These are what have informed these complaints,” Animiokhali said.

The petition against Makolo landed him in detention. The police are investigating him over allegations he made against Babandede in the media.

Makolo is uncomfortable in the custody of the police. His lawyer, Kayode Ajulo, has fired a petition to the Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, upscaling the matter to an attack on one lawyer being an attack against lawyers. The matter could make its way soon to the court.

“It’s alleged that based on the petition, an ex parte order from an Abuja Magistrate Court is obtained to remand Makolo in police cell for two weeks,” Ajulo’s SOS to NBA which Opera News published, read. Makolo is complaining of failing health, harassments from other detainees.

“I have to send this SOS to the NBA leadership as Makolo is one of the members. An injury to one is an injury to all,” Ajulo concluded.

Who is Makolo? What does he want? What are his issues with the tenure of the CGI? What remedies has he sought?

Makolo was a Chief Superintendent of Immigration, CSI. The Civil Defence, Fire, Immigrations, Prisons Board, CDFIPB dismissed Makolo in 2019 after disciplinary processes that included queries, an internal disciplinary committee, and a committee of the CDFIPB that oversees the NIS. He neither answered the queries nor appeared at any of the disciplinary hearings.

The CDFIPB disciplined him for refusal, over two years to report to his new posting at Borno State Command. Makolo had alleged that the posting was punitive though he was not the only officer posted; others resumed.

A PhD law student, Makolo is a passionate, tireless user of the law to press causes as he deems fit. He had used the law bountifully in a three-year pursuit of his differences with Babandede. His media appearances have been opportunities to repeat the same allegations he made in court or in petitions.

Makolo accused Babandede over the death of an immigrations officer Mutum Andrew Likita and threat to his own life in another petition to th Inspector General of Police. The allegation over Likita’s death was investigated by the IGP’s Special Investigation Panel. It found Babandede not culpable.

Makolo in 2017 lodged complaints about his harassment, intimidation, and threat to his life to President Muhammadu Buhari, the Inspector-General of Police, and the National Human Rights Commission.

He told the Industrial Court, “That the 3rd defendant (Babandede) has been threatening my life, intimidating, harassing me and my lawyers to no end. That despite all these efforts, my intimidation, harassment, and threat to my life and that of my lawyer increased beyond measures. The 3rd defendant is hell-bent on destroying my career, life, and all that I have worked for over these 30 years”.

As the NBA weighs into this matter, NBA would be partially on trial. Does being a lawyer exempt one from observing the law? Do NBA regulations about the conduct of its members that place them above the law?

Makolo used the law in pressing his matters against Babandede. Most of those allegations make their routine rounds in the social media. Should Babandede have kept quiet forever?

It would be interesting to see where NBA stands, especially as it navigates the applications of the law to an NBA member Makolo and Babandede, a non-member of NBA.

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