Court Remands Drugs Smuggler, Who Offered Customs N50m Bribe

A Lagos Federal High Court, on monday, granted the request of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) to remand an alleged smuggler, Boniface Ike Okoye, for alleged using two containers to smuggled Tramadol, Codeine and other prohibited goods into the country from Indian.

The court presided over by Justice Akintayo Aluko, on Monday, ordered the Customs Service to remand Boniface in its custody for 14 days, when investigation would have been concluded on the alleged crimes. 

Boniface was alleged to have illegally imported into the country illicit and dangerous drugs valued N550 million, hidden in a two-loaded containers.

Justice Aluko, made the remand order, sequel to motion Exparte filed and argued by the lawyer to the Nigeria Customs, Mrs. Kehinde Bode-Ayeni.

In urging the court to grant the order, Mrs. Bode-Ayeni told the court that the application was pursuant to Section 294 and 295 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA )2015; 

Sections 6, 233 & 259 of the Nigeria Customs Service Act, 2023; sections 6 (6), 35 (1)(a) (5) & (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 alleged smuggler is being investigated on offences bordering on alleged conspiracy, unlawful importation of Tramadol and Codeine, improper importation and false declaration, which she said are prohibited and contrary to the Nigeria Customs Service Act 2023 and Miscellaneous Offences Act, Cap. M17, LFN 2004, 

Mrs. Bode-Ayeni also told the court that the Motion Exparte was supported with an affidavit deposed to by M. A. Kayode,  a Litigation Officer, Legal Unit, TinCan Island, Apapa, Lagos State.

In the affidavit, the deponent averred that on August 23, 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 No. MRKU 553432/1, laden with 10 Cartons of Super Royal 225 Tramadol and 754 cartons of codeine 

He stated that On August 23, 2023, upon examination of the container, it was discovered that Tramadol and Codeine were concealed in cartons of Compo Ceiling Fan, found inside the container. And that further investigation led to the arrest of  Boniface Ike Okoye, the respondent in the suit.. 

He further stated that the respondent provided details of other co-accomplices who were involved in the importation and manipulation of records and Customs documents to facilitate the unlawful importation, and they are being trailed by officers of the Nigeria Customs Service. And that during interim investigation in this matter, the respondent obliged statements, under caution and voluntarily. His statement is confessional. 

The deponent stated that efforts are being intensified by the operatives of the Enforcement Unit of the Customs Area Command, TinCan Island Apapa to arrest others who were actively involved in the importation of the tramadol and Codeine and to aid their criminal intentions. 

He stated that investigation in this matter will require the operatives of the Customs to go outside jurisdictions with a view to recovering exhibits in connection with the case under investigation. And that the investigation into this 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 Respondent in their custody. 

The deponent also stated that releasing the respondent 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 respondent in custody the Nigeria Customs Service, TinCan Island, Apapa, for 14 days to cause thorough and speedy investigation of this case. 

Justice after hearing the submission of the Nigeria Customs Service’s lawyer, Mrs. Bode-Ayeni, ruled that “I’ve listened to the submission of counsel to the applicant, and sees the affidavit in support and the respondent’s confessional statements and attached exhibits.

“The application is entitled to be granted and same is hereby granted. I ordered that the respondent, Boniface Ike Okoye, be remanded in the custody of Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) for 14 days, when investigation would have been concluded.’

The judge consequently adjourned to September 13, for report of investigation.