Witness Absence Stalls Trial Of 7 Indians, 3 Nigerians Charged For Smuggling 43.110kg Of Cocaine
The scheduled trial of seven India Nationals and three Nigerians, before a Lagos Federal High Court, over alleged unlawful importation of 43.110 Kilograms of Cocaine, was stalled on Monday, due to the absence of the 27 witness to testify in the charge.
Both the India Nationals and their Nigerian counterparts are standing trial before the court presided over by Justice Ayokunle Faji, on charges bordering on conspiracy and unlawful importation of 43.1 kilogrammes of Cocaine.
The seven Indians are: Shedrack Yurama; Singh Vikash; Kunnaserypallam Ashraf Inzam; Xaiver Fernando Santhanaria; Mandal Surjeet Ashok; Tandel Pratikkumar Pravinbai; and Barthwal Rohan Sunil. While their Nigerian accomplices are: Tobi Ojo; Kunle Animashaun and Omozusi Enorose Terry.
The 10 defendants alongside a limited liability company, Oilways Logistics and Energy Limited, are being tried before the court by the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA).
The defendants according to the charge marked FHC/L/100c/2021, were arrested with the banned drug on February 8, 2021, at the Time Can Port, Apapa, Lagos, on board a vessel named MV Spar Scorpio.
The defendants, were alleged to have conspired with Franklyn Pereowei Godwin and Peter Odigie Ozasuwa, said to be at large.
The offences according to the anti-narcotic agency are contrary to and punishable under section 11(a) and 14(b) of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) Act Cap N30 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria (LFN) 2004.
So far, NDLEA through its prosecutors led by Mrs. Theresa Asuquo, have called 26 witnesses and we’ll tendered several exhibits which have been admitted by the court.
However, at the resumed hearing of the charges against the defendants on Monday, all the counsel to the parties were in court except the the witness to be called.
When the matter was first called at about 10 a.m, the prosecutor, Mrs. Asuquo, informed the court that the witness was on his way coming.
But when it became apparent that the witness was unable to meet up, the prosecutor pleaded with the court for an adjournment.
But counsel to the defendants, who includes; Tunde Adejuyigbe (SAN); Victor O, O. Daniel; R. U. Udoh and Adedolapo Aromire objected to the adjournment request of the prosecutor.
The defence counsel also urged court to close the prosecution’s case, on the ground that the prosecution has constantly delayed smooth hearing of the suit.
However, the presiding judge, Justice Faji, after listened to counsel’s submissions, adjourned the matter till May 13, for continuation of trial.
The judge also ordered the Immigration Services to extend the period which the India Nationals are to stay in the country.
Charges against the Defendants Read: “that you Tobi Ojo (M), Kunle Animashaun (M), Franklyn Pereowei Godwin (M), presently at large, Peter Odigie Ozasuwa (M), presently at large and Oilways Logistics and Energy Ltd (A company registered in Nigeria) on about the 8th of February 2021, at the Tincan Port, Apapa, Lagos State within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court without lawful authority imported 43.110 kilogrammes of cocaine , a narcotic drug, and thereby committed an offence contrary to and punishable under section 11(a) of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) Act Cap N30 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria (LFN) 2004.
“That you Tobi Ojo (M), Kunle Animashaun (M), Shedrack Yurama (M), Oilways Logistics and energy Ltd (a Company registered in Nigeria), Omozusi Enorose Terry (M), Singh Vikash (M), Kunnaserypallam Ashraf Inzam (M), Xaiver Fernando Santhanaria (M), Mandal Surjeet Ashok (M), Tandel Pratikkumar Pravinbai (M), and Barthwal Rohan Sunil (M), sometime around 12th January 2021 and 8th February 2021 conspired, with one another and with Franklyn Pereowei Godwin (M) and Peter Odigie Osazuwa (M) who are both presently at large to import 43.110 kilogrammes of cocaine, anarcotic drug aboard the Vessel MV SPAR SCORPIO without lawful authority thereby committed an offence contrary to an punishable under section 14(b) of the NDLEA Act Cap N30 (LFN) 2004”.