New Telegraph

Hard Drugs Importation: Court sets date for trial of 4-man syndicate

Barring any unforeseen circumstances, the trial of a four-man syndicate docked by the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) for allegedly importing hard drugs into the country will begin on November 1 at a Federal High Court in Lagos. Justice Daniel Osiagor fixed the date fol- lowing the arraignment of the four men over their alleged involvement in the un- lawful Importation of banned substances. The four-man syndicate dragged before the judge are; Ogunmeru Oluwafemi Oluwafunsho (49), Adewale Yusuf Adegbeti (42), Adeleke Abdulrazaq (43) and Dairo Quam (22) But the defendants pleaded not guilty to the charge, following which the NDLEA’s lawyer, Augustine Nwagu, asked for a trial date and sought for the defendants’ remand in prison pending conclusion of trial. Responding, defence lawyer, Chief Benson Ndakara urged the court to admit his clients to bail in the most liberal terms, as they have credible sureties that can stand for them. Ndakara particularly told the court that his clients, Ogunmeru Oluwafemi Oluwa- funsho and Adewale Yusuf Adegbeti, are suffering from ailments that cannot be handled by the correctional services.

However the prosecution opposed the application that the defendants be remanded in NDLEA’s custody on the ground that once a plea had been taken, the best place to remand the defendants is a correctional facility. In his ruling, Justice Osiagor admit- ted each of the defendants to bail in the sum of N5 million with one surety each. The judge also ordered that the sure- ty must be a Grade Level 14 officer and above, and that both the defendants and their surety must submit three passport photographs to the court’s registrar. Justice Osiagor remanded the de- fendants in NDLEA’s custody to enable them to perfect the bail terms. According to the NDLEA’s lawyer, the defendants were arrested on March 10, 2023, at the SAHCO import shed of the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Ikeja, Lagos, during the in- ward clearance of Cargo on an Ethio- pian Airline flight from Johannesburg, South Africa via Addis Ababa. Nwagu further told Justice Osia- gor that all the defendants conspired among themselves to illegally and un- lawfully importing 11.90 kg of Heroin and 500g of Cannabis Sativa. The prosecutor further informed the judge that the defendants committed the offence with one, Zainab Morenikeji Agbaje, said to be at large. Nwagu also intimated the court that the offence contravened Sections 14(b) and 11(a) of the National Drug Law En- forcement Agency Act Cap N30 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.

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