Justice Saliu Saidu of a Federal High Court in Lagos yesterday ordered the remand of a clearing agent, Ifeuwa Moses Christ, for illegally importing 1,570 pump action rifles into the country. The remand order was sequel to the arraignment of the clearing agent by the Federal Government on an eight-count charge of firearms importation and forgery. Upon his arraignment, the defendant pleaded not guilty to all the counts.
Afterwards, the prosecution lawyer, Julius Ajakaye, sought a trial date and urged the court to order the defendant’s remand. Responding, the defence counsel, C. J. Jiakeonna, orally applied that the defendant should be admitted to bail on liberal terms having being in custody of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) for over six months after his arrest.
The lawyer added that he did a lot before his client could appear in court for his arraignment. While adjourning the matter till November 21 for commencement of trial, Justice Saidu asked the defence lawyer to file a formal bail motion for his client. In the charge marked: FHC/ L/339C/2018, the defendant was accused of illegally conspiring with Great James Oil and Gas Limited, Ayogu Great James and Emeka Umeh Festus aka Amankwa (said to be at large) to import 1,570 pump action rifles into Nigeria between November 6 and 20, 2017, using a 1 by 20ft container marked GESU 2555208.
The defendant was also said to have in conjunction with others altered a forged bill of lading marked: ISB0281398 issued on July 28, 2017, to read GUANGDONG- CHINA instead of ISTANBUL- TURKEY on a 1 by 20ft container GESU 2555208 with intent that it would be used and acted upon as genuine by Customs officers.
They were also alleged to have forged a bill of lading marked: ISB0281398 issued on July 28, 2017, to read “230 packages of wash hand basin and W/C with form ‘M’ number MF20170080364 as the content of a 1 by 20ft container marked GESU 2555208. The offences are contrary to Section 1 (14) (a) of the Miscellaneous Offences Act, Cap M17 of the Laws of the Federation 2004 as well as Section 1 (2) (c) of the Miscellaneous Offences Act, Cap M17 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004 and punishable under same section of the same Act.