A businessman, Ifeuwa Moses Christ, was on Thursday arraigned before a Federal High Court, Lagos, presided over by Justice Saliu Saidu, for unlawful importation of rifles into Nigeria.
According to the Nigerian Customs Service who arraigned Ifeuwa, 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 on Thursday, the prosecutor, Mr Julius Ajakaiye, informed the court that the accused and others conspired among themselves between September 6 to 20, 2017, 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 forged 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, on pleading not guilty to the charges, were remanded in prison custody as their plea for bail was declined by the presiding judge.
The matter was adjourned till adjourned the matter till November 20 and 21, for commencement of trial.