BY GBENGA ARIYIBI
ADO EKITI — The Police and the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, Thursday, engaged in a battle of wit over who among them has statutory power to prosecute drug offences.
The face-off came to the fore at the Federal High Court, Ado Ekiti when a case involving alleged possesion of narcotic drug (Indian hemp) by an accused person, Andrew Daniel, came up for hearing
During the hearing, NDLEA’s Director of Prosecution, Mr. Femi Oloruntoba, argued based on the sixth paragraph ‘Preliminary Objection’ earlier filed against the statutory power of Inspector General of Police to prosecute matter relating to alleged possesion of Narcotics.
He clarified that the said section under which the accused person was charged clearly indicated that it was an NDLEA matter.
In his argument, Officer-in-Charge of Legal Matters for the Police, Ekiti State Command, Mr. Femi Falade,told the court that Section 23 of the Police Act gave the sole power to police to initiate, institute and prosecute all criminal proceedings.
However, the presiding judge, Justice Adamu Hobon, ruled that by the NDLEA Act Promugation of 1989, that the power to prosecute drug related issues had being transfered to the agency, NDLEA.
He said: “The believe that Police power for prosecution on any criminal matters is unlimited is a misguided interpretation of the laws.
“No authority has unlimited power as far as there is a special provision or act of any other agency vested with the power and when there is conflicting issues on certain laws, the special provision supercedes.”