A businessman, Ifeuwa Moses Christ was yesterday arraigned before a Federal High Court, Lagos for unlawfully importing pump action rifles.
According to the Nigerian Customs Service, the defendant allegedly imported 1570 pump action rifles concealed in a container of ceramic wash-hand basins.
Ifeuwa, a resident of 1, Ifeuwa Street, Ogidi, Anambra State, was arraigned alongside one Ayogu Great James, of Plot 291, Dawaki extension, opposite Gwarinpa Estate, Abuja, and Emeka Umeh Festus, also known as Amankwa, who is said to be at large.
Also, charged before the court is an Oil and Gas company, Great James Oil and Gas Limited, located at 1, Warehouse Road, Apapa, Lagos.
Arraigning the accused, the prosecutor, Mr Julius Ajakaiye, informed the court that the accused and others conspired among themselves between September 6 to 20, 2017, to illegally and unlawfully import a total of 1570 pump action rifles into Nigeria, through Apapa Seaport, Lagos.
The prosecutor also told the court that the accused loaded the said 1570 pump action rifles in two 1× 20 feet containers marked GESU 2555208 and CMAU 1878178.
Furthermore, Ajakaiye told the court that the accused and others now at large, in a bid to illegally and unlawfully bring in the weapons, altered and forged a bill of lading, issued in July 28, 2017, to read Guandong, China, instead of Istanbul, Turkey, which was written on the conveying container.
Ajakaiye also told the court that the accused also altered Form M(application for Import) and Pre-Arrival Assessment Report (PAAR), issued on August 28, 2017, with number MF 20170080364 and CN 20170768490/001, respectively, to read Guandong, China instead of Istanbul, Turkey, as a country of origin.
The accused were also alleged to have altered a bill of lading numbered ISB0281398, issued on July 28, 2017, to read 230 packages of wash-hand basin and W/C, as the content in the container used in shipping in the illegal firearms.
All the accused persons were charged before the court on charges bordering on conspiracy, illegal importation of Firearms and forgery and altering of Customs’ import documents.
The accused had pleaded not guilty to the charges.
The presiding judge, Justice Saliu Saidu declined to grant the defendants bail and adjourned the matter till November 20 and 21, for commencement of trial.
The defendants were remanded in prison custody.