A Federal High Court in Lagos on Wednesday fixed March 28 for the arraignment of two Chinese Nationals and a Nigerian, accused of importing substandard tyres into Nigeria.

The accused persons were scheduled to be arraigned before the court on Wednesday but the case could not go on due to language barrier.

The Chinese, Taolung Shem, 36 and Xu Jimg Yao, 22 and the Nigerian, Chinedu Madubuike were arrested in Lagos, last month by Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON) monitoring and enforcement team for allegedly importing tyres which did not meet Nigerian industrial standard.

The plea for the defendants who appeared before Justice Mojisola Olatoregun could not be taken due to absence of an interpreter.

In a five-count charge filed against the defendants by the Office of the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), the accused were alleged to have conspired among themselves and imported tyres which did not meet the relevant Nigerian industrial standards through means of stuffing various sizes of tyres into one, knowing same to be in dangerous state or injurious to life of human beings.

Another charge against the defendants reads: That you Taolung Shen ‘M’, Xu Jim Yao ‘M’, Sino Nigeria Limited, Nedeca International Limited and Chinedu Madubuike ‘M’ sometimes in the month of February, 2017 in Lagos within the jurisdiction of this honourable did conspire among yourself, and imported tyres which did not comply with mandatory standards on account of your act of stuffing various sizes of tyres into one which makes the tyres to be unfit for purpose and not complying with the mandatory standard and thereby committed an offence contrary to and punishable under Sections 26(2)(b)(iii) of the Standards Organisation Act No. 14, 2015 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004.”

When the matter was called at the court today, the prosecutor from the office of the AGF, Babatunde Alajogun informed the court that the matter is for arraignment of the defendants.

But one of the defence lawyer, Mr. Victor Okpara told the court that one of the defendants could not speak English, saying he had contacted the Chinese consulate in Lagos for an interpreter who would interpret the charge for the accused persons.

Responding, the prosecutor said he was not aware that the defendants cannot speak English.

The prosecutor therefore asked the court to remand the defendants in prison’s custody pending when their plea will be taken.

But the trial judge, Justice Olatoregun turned down the request and ordered that the accused should remain in police custody till March 28 when their plea will be taken through an interpreter.

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