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Alleged firearms importation: FG asks court to deny accused persons bail

The accused had pleaded not guilty to the charges, while the court had adjourned for hearing of their respective bail applications.

350 million illegal weapons in Nigeria says government

The accused were charged alongside a company, Great James Oil and Gas Ltd, before Justice Saliu Saidu, on Oct. 11, on counts of conspiracy, illegal importation of firearms, alteration of import forms, forgery and false declaration.

On Wednesday, defence counsel Messrs Mahmud Mogaji (SAN) and Wale Adesokan (SAN), urged the court to admit the accused persons to bails on liberal terms, as the prosecution had not been able to contradict all the depositions in their affidavits.

They, therefore, urged the court to discountenance the prosecution's counter-affidavit, and grant bails to the accused.

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Opposing their applications, the prosecutor, Ajakaiye, urged the court to dismiss the bail applications on grounds of National Security.

Citing a plethora of court decisions, Ajakaiye argued that bail applications on related offences, had preciously been dismissed on similar grounds.

He, told the court that the third accused, Ifeuwa, who is the alleged shipper of the firearms, had been elusive for more than 12 months, before he was arrested by the men of the Nigerian Customs Service, and other security agencies.

He, vehemently opposed the applications for bail, and urged the court to discountenance and dismiss same.

After listening to submissions of counsel, Justice Saidu adjourned until Nov. 21, to deliver his ruling on the bail applications.

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Meanwhile, a co-accused Festus Emeka, who was earlier described as being “at large” in the charge, was on Wednesday produced and arraigned.

But the court ordered that he be remanded in prison custody pending a consolidation of the charge against all the accused.

According to the charge, the prosecution told the court that between Sept. 6 and 20, 2017, the accused conspired to unlawfully import a total of 1570 pump action rifles into Nigeria, through the Apapa Seaport in Lagos.

He told the court that the rifles were loaded in two 20 ft containers, marked GESU 2555208 and CMAU 1878178.

Ajakaiye, told the court that the in a bid to illegally bring in the weapons, the accused altered and forged a bill of lading, issued on July 28, 2017, to read Guandong, China, instead of Istanbul, Turkey, which was written on the conveying container.

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He said that the accused also altered form M (application for Import) and a Pre-arrival Assessment Report (PAAR), issued on Aug.28, 2017, with number MF 20170080364 and CN 20170768490/001, respectively, to read Guandong, China instead of Istanbul, Turkey, as country of origin.

The accused were also alleged to have altered a bill of lading numbered ISB0281398, issued on July 28, 2017, to read 230 packages of wash hand basin and W/C, as the content in the container used in shipping in the illegal firearms.

The offences contravenes the provisions of sections 1 (14) (a) of the Miscellaneous Offences Act, Cap M17, Laws of the Federation 2004.

It also contravenes the provisions of Section 1 (2) (c) of the Miscellaneous Offences Act, Cap M17 Laws of the Federation 2004.

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