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Custom official, 4 others land in court over seized arms



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The Federal High Court in Lagos presided over by justice Ayokunle Faji ruled over a case bordering on illegal importation of 661 pump-action rifles into the country involving five suspects.

Those parade included an official of Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Saliu Abdullahi Danjuma, Mahmud Hassan, Oscar Okafor, Donatus Achinulo, while Mathew Okoye, who was said to be at large, was also arraigned in absentia for an eight-count charge of importing arms.

Other offences preferred against the accused persons include conspiracy, importation of prohibited firearms, forgery, uttering of forged documents and bribery and the crimes according to the prosecuting counsel were said to be contrary to sections 1(2)(c), 1(14) (a)(i) and 3(6) of the Miscellaneous Offences Act Cap M17, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2014.

While addressing the court, the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice said the accused who however, pleaded not guilty when the charges were read to them, brought the rifles into the country from Turkey through the Apapa Port in Lagos, using a 40-feet container, which they falsely claimed contained steel doors.

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The prosecuting counsel, K. A. Fagbemi among many other things said the accused allegedly forged a number of documents, including a bill of lading, to facilitate the illegal importation, the accused allegedly forged a number of documents, including a bill of lading.

He also alleged that the suspects offered a bribe of N400, 000 to officials of the NCS attached to the Federal Operative Unit to influence the said officers not to conduct a “100 per cent search on the 40-feet container.

Fagbemi also accused, Hassan for corruptly gaving N1 million to NCS official, Danjuma, at the Apapa Port, in order to prevent the search of the container by Customs officials.

Fagbemi also applied for a date to commence trial, and also urged the court to order that the accused should be remanded in the prison custody pending trial.

Before granting the prayer of the prosecution by ordering for remand of the accused in the prison custody, Justice Faji adjourned the case till September 12 for further hearing.



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