Court Grants Customs’ Request to Remand Importer of Container laden with Indian Hemp
Justice Akintayo Aluko of the Federal High Court, sitting in Lagos, yesterday, ordered the remand of one Philip Elue, who allegedly imported a container, laden with 86 packs of Cannabis Sativa, popularly called Indian hemp.
Aluko ordered his remand in the custody of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Tin Can Island Port, Apapa, Lagos State, till August 31, 2022, when investigation would have been concluded on the alleged crime.
The judge made the remand order, after hearing submission made by the Prosecution counsel, Mrs. Kehinde Bode-Ayeni.
In urging the court for the order, Bode-Ayeni, told the court that the application was brought pursuant to Section 294 and 295 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015; Section 8 and 181 Of the Customs and Excise Management Act, Cap. C46 L.F.N. 2004; Sections 6 (6), 35 (1)(c), (5) and (7)(a) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) and Order 46 Rule 4(d) of the Federal High Court Rules.
She told the court that the remand order against the respondent was for 14 days, till the conclusion of the Customs investigation into a case of conspiracy, unlawful importation of cannabis sativa (colorado) and improper importation which were prohibited items, and contrary to the Customs and Excise Management Act, Cap. C45, L.F.N. 2004 and Miscellaneous Offences Act, Cap. M17, LFN 2004.
Bode-Ayeni made her arguments with an affidavit deposed to by M. A. Kayode, a litigation officer in the legal department of the Nigeria Customs Services.
After listening to her submissions, Justice Aluko held that the application had merit and same was granted accordingly.
The matter has been adjourned till August 31, for report of investigation.
The Nigeria Customs Services in an affidavit in support of the application, stated that on June 15, 2022, its enforcement unit officers, Apapa, were detailed by the Area Controller, based on credible intelligence, to monitor a 1X40ft Container No. TGBU 98965313, laden with 86 packs of cannabis sativa, aboard a ship. And that upon examination of the container, it was discovered that cannabis sativa was concealed in two plastic drums, found inside a 2010 Mercedes Benz 4matic jeep.
It was further stated that investigation led to the arrest of the respondent, who gave detailesof other accomplices involved in the importation and manipulation of records and Customs documents to facilitate the unlawful importation, and now being trailed by officers of the NCS.
The Service also stated that efforts were being intensified by the operatives of the Enforcement Unit of the Customs Area Command, Apapa, to arrest Collins Osamar and Ifeanyi Nwogo, who were actively involved in the importation of the illicit drugs to aid their criminal intentions.
The service also stated that investigation into the case could not be completed within 24 or 48 hours as stipulated by the Constitution for which the operatives of the Nigeria Customs Service could lawfully detain the Respondent in their custody.