Customs Gets Court Permit To Remand Alleged Gun Runner

A Lagos Federal High Court, today, granted the request of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), to remand an alleged firearms smuggler, Joseph Nwadiador, till the conclusion of investigation.

The 61 years old Nwadiador, a resident of 5th Avenue, G Close, Block 4, Flat 2, Festac Town, Lagos, was alleged to have sometimes June, smuggled some rifles and ammunition into the country from United States of America (USA).

Justice Nicholas Oweibo, granted the remand request, after hearing Mrs. Kehinde Bode-Ayeni, NCS’s lawyer, who filed and moved the motion ex-parte, for the order.

Mrs. Bode-Ayeni while moving the motion numbered FHC/L/357c/23, told the court that the remand request was pursuant to Sections 294 and 295 of the ACJA, 2015; Sections 8, 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 

The lawyer told the court that the order sought for is to remand the suspect, in the custody of Tin Can Island Port of the Nigeria Customs Service, Apapa, Lagos State, pending the conclusion of the investigation of the case of conspiracy, unlawful importation of Arms and Ammunition and improper importation which are prohibited and contrary to the CEMA Act, Cap. C45, L.F.N. 2004 and Miscellaneous Offences Act, Cap. M17, LFN 2004. 

She also told the court that the motion is supported with 14 paragraphs affidavit, deposed to by one M. A. Kayode, a Litigation Officer in the Legal Unit, TinCan Island, Apapa Command of the Service.

In the affidavit, the deponent stated that on July 4, 2023, officers of the Customs Enforcement Unit, Apapa, were detailed by the Customs Area Controller, based on credible intelligence, to monitor a 1 X40ft Container numbered CMAU 883471\9, laden with 12 different types of Rifles and 264 different types of ammunition aboard a ship. And that upon examination of the container, it was discovered that arms and ammunition, were concealed in one plastic drum, kept inside the container. 

The deponent stated that further investigation led to the arrest of the suspect, who provides details of other co-accomplices who were involved in the importation and manipulation of records and Customs documents to facilitate the unlawful importation. Adding that the said co+accomplices are being trailed by officers of the Nigeria Customs Service. 

He stated that efforts are being intensified by the operatives of the Enforcement Unit of the Customs Area Command, Apapa, to arrest others, who were actively involved in the illegal importation of the arms and ammunition and to aid their criminal intentions.  

He stated that the investigation into the case cannot be completed within 24 or 48 hours, as stipulated by the Constitution for which the operatives of the Nigeria Customs Service can lawfully detain the suspect in their custody. And that it is necessary to seek the order of the court, for an order to remand the suspect, pending the conclusion of investigation and likely prosecution in the court of law. 

The deponent also stated that releasing the suspect on bail, will interfere with the ongoing investigation and would likely hamper a proper investigation. And that it is in the interest of the public to remand the suspect in custody of the Nigeria Customs Service, TinCan Island, Apapa, for 30 days to cause a thorough and speedy investigation of this case. 

Justice Oweibo, after taken arguments of the lawyer held that: “I have listened to the submissions of counsel and look through all the processes filed and the authorities cited, the order sought for deserved to be granted, and same is hereby granted as prayed.”