New Telegraph

Drug Smuggling: Court Orders Remand Of Suspect

A Federal High Court, Ikoyi, Lagos, presided over by Justice Akintoye Aluko, has granted the request of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), to remand an alleged smuggler, Boniface Ike Okoye, for using two containers to smuggle Tramadol, Codeine and other prohibited goods into the country from India.

The judge specifically directed the NCS to keep Boniface in its custody for 14 days when the investigation would have been concluded on the alleged crimes.

The alleged drug smuggler was accused of illegally importing into the country illicit and dangerous drugs valued at N550 million, hidden in two-loaded containers.

Justice Aluko’s order came sequel to a Motion Ex-parte filed and argued by the lawyer to the Nigeria Customs, Mrs Kehinde Bode-Ayeni.

While praying for the court to grant the order, Mrs Bode-Ayeni informed Justice Aluko that the application was brought pursuant to Sections 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.

The lawyer also notified the judge that the suspected smuggler is being investigated for 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 further hinted to Justice Aluko 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.

According to the deponent, 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.

Kayode insisted 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.

The deponent 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.

While adding that during an interim investigation into the matter, the respondent obliged statements under caution and voluntarily and that his statement is confessional, the deponent revealed 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.

Kayode affirmed that the investigation into the case will require the operatives of the NCS to go outside the jurisdiction to recover exhibits in connection with the case under investigation.

The deponent also stated that releasing the respondent on bail would 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 the custody of the NCS, TinCan Island, Apapa, for 14 days to cause thorough and speedy investigation of the case.

In his ruling, Justice Aluko held that “The application is entitled to be granted, and the same is hereby granted.

“I order that the respondent, Boniface Ike Okoye, be remanded in the custody of Nigeria Customs Service for 14 days when the investigation would have been concluded”.

Justice Aluko adjourned until September 13, 2023, for the report of the investigation.

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