Illegal Arms Importation: Court Reinstates Order On Detainees’ Medical Reports


Justice Ayokunle Faji of the Federal High Court in Lagos yesterday reinstated his earlier order mandating the Nigerian Prison Services (NPS) to produce the medical reports of the health status of four accused persons who were in prison custody over illegal importation of firearms into the country.

The court reinstated its earlier order following the inability of the prosecution to produce the medical report of the accused persons as earlier directed by the court following an application filled by one of the accused persons Osca Okafor.

At the resumed hearing of the matter yesterday, counsel to the third accused told the court that the prosecution was yet to comply with the order of the court as regards the deteriorating health condition of his client, But the prosecution represented by J. I. Ajakaiye, told the court that the prosecution had taken step as directed by the court to obtain the medical report.

He said the prosecution had written the Comptroller General of Prison, but that the prison authority was yet to oblige the prosecution with the reports.
Ajakaiye pleaded with the court to grant them short adjournment for the prosecution to secure the report as directed by the court.

On the issue of the second accused Salihu Abdulahi Danjuma, who had earlier hinted the court of his intention to enter a plea bargain, the prosecution told the court that the process was on going, but still needed the ratification of higher authorities.

The prosecution’s position was also confirmed by lawyer representing second accused person.
While adjourning the matter for trial till October 10, Justice Faji directed the prosecution to produced the medical report of the health status of all the accused persons on the next adjourned date.

The federal government through the Office of Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) had arraigned the four accused persons before the court on charges bordering on conspiracy, importation of prohibited firearms, uttering of documents, forgery, corruption, and importation of prohibited goods.
Those arraigned before the court were: Mahmud Hassan, and Salihu Abdulahi Danjuma Oscar Okafor, Donatus Ezebunwa Achinulo, and Matthew Okoye.

However, among all the five defendants, only Matthew Okoye was said to be at large.
The AGF in charge number FHC/L/190c/17, alleged that the accused persons conspired with one another to illegally import into Nigeria 661 pump action rifles.

They were also alleged to have forged the documents which includes: two bill of leden, one reads ‘Shanghai China’, as port of loading, instead of ‘Istanbul’, and another one which reads: ‘steel doors’, as the contents of the container instead of Customs’ Form M, Pre-Arrival Assessment Report (PAAR) used in smuggling the said 661 rifles Into the country.

In particular, the one of the customs officials, Mahmud Hassan, was alleged to corruptly offered the sum of N400,000, to one Aliu Musa, the Examination Officer of the Federal Operation Unit of the Customs Service with an intent to prevent 100 per cent search on a container marked PONU 825914/3, which was used in bringing into the country the said arms.

Mahmud Hassan was also alleged to have corruptly given the sum of N1 million to government officials at Apapa Port, through his colleague, Danjuma Abdulahi, in order to prevent the searching of the said container used in bringing in the 661 illegally imported pump action rifles.
The offences according to the prosecutor, Kehinde Adesola Fagbemi, are contrary to and punishable under sections 3(6), 1(14)(a)(I) 1(2) of the Miscellaneous Offences Act Cap. M17, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004. And section 98(1) (b) of the Criminal Code Act.

The accused persons pleaded not guilty to all the counts of the charge.
Following their plea of not guilty, the prosecutor asked the court for a trial date, and urged the court to remand the accused persons in prison pending conclusion of trial.
Their bail applications were also refused by the court.