A clearing agent, Ifeuwa Moses Christ, was remanded by a Federal High Court in Lagos yesterday after 1,570 rifles which he imported illegally into the country were discovered in his possession.
An eight-count charge of firearms importation and forgery was slammed on the agent by Justice Saliu Saidu upon his arraignment which the defendant pleaded not guilty to.
The prosecution lawyer, Julius Ajakaye, sought a trial date and urged the court to order the defendant’s detention.
However, the defence counsel, C. J. Jiakeonna, orally applied that the defendant should be admitted to bail on liberal terms having been in custody of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) for over six months after his arrest.
Justice Saidu asked the defence to file a formal bail motion for his client with the case adjourned till November 21 for the commencement of trial.
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.