The Federal Government on Thursday arraigned a clearing agent, Ifeuwa Moses, for alleged illegal importation of firearms into the country.
The defendant, who was arraigned before the Federal High Court in Lagos, was accused of bringing 1,570 pump-action rifles into the country.
The prosecuting counsel for the state, Julius Ajakaiye, told Justice Saliu Saidu that the firearms were brought into Nigeria from Istanbul, Turkey, in a 20-foot container.
He said the defendant forged the bill of laden marked, ISB0281398, and dated July 28, 2017, disguising that the 20-foot container was loaded with “230 packages of wash hand basin and W/C with form ‘M’ number MF20170080364”, rather than 1,570 pump-action guns.
According to him, the forged bill of laden also stated that the goods were coming in from Guangdongn, China, instead of Istanbul, Turkey.
The prosecutor said the defendant committed the offence between November 6 and 20, 2017, in connivance with a firm, Great James Oil and Gas Ltd, and two others persons – Ayogu James and Emeka Festus – said to be at large.
Ajakaiye said the clearing agent acted 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, Law of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004, and was liable to punishment under same sections of the same Act.
The cleaning agent, however, pleaded not guilty to the eight counts pressed against him bordering on forgery and illegal importation of firearms.
While adjourning till November 21 for commencement of trial, Justice Saidu said the defendant should be remanded in custody.
He, however, said the defence counsel, C. J. Jiakeonna, could bring an application for his client’s bail.