Court summons customs director over suspect’s death

By Wahab Akanji, Abuja

A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has summoned the Director, Legal Department of the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) and a lawyer in the department, S. I. Bello over the sudden death of a suspect, Abubakar Rilwan. The presiding judge, Justice Nnamdi Dimgba, ordered the two to appear before the court on August 4 to explain why they should not be committed to jail for contempt for refusing the deceased medical attention as ordered by the court.

Rilwan, who was said to be a staff of Arewa Consultative Forum, was arrested by the NCS on allegation of forgery and impersonation.

The NCS later arrested him in June this year, accused him of forging some NCS documents and was taken before the Federal High Court on July 12 for arraignment.

Observing that Rilwan was not looking healthy, the judge suspended proceedings and directed that the accused person be promptly taken before medical experts for proper examination and attention.

However on Monday, Rilwan’s lawyer, Laura Oviawe told the court that her client died on July 13 at 9 pm while arrangement was being made to take him to court.

Oviawe said officials of the NCS called her on July 13 to inform her of the development.

The NCS was not represented at the resumed hearimng on Mondaythus prompting the judge to summon Bello, and the Director, Legal Services of the NCS to appear in court on August 4, to explain why the court’s order that Riwan be taken for medical attention was not complied with.

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