The five accused persons include four Guinea nationals and a Nigerian. Three of the accused who were present in court yesterday were arrested in Lagos in August, 2021 by officials of the Nigeria Customs Service
The accused who were identified as Troare Djakonba, Muyribein Bereye, Mohammed Berete, Sediki Berete (all Guineans) and Isiaka Musa (Nigerian) were arraigned before Justice Tijjani Rigim of the Federal High Court, Lagos on a four-count charge.
However, Muyribein Bereye and Sediki Berete were not in court as they were said to be on the run. But counsel to Nigeria Customs Service told the court that effort was ongoing to ensure their arrest and arraignment.
The charges brought against them in court were read in Manike language, a Guinean dialect by a translator. They all pleaded not guilty to the charges.
The trial Judge, Justice Tijjani Rigim, ordered that the accused remain in the custody of the Nigeria Customs Service until September 1, 2021, when a counter application for a bail application filed by the defense counsel is filed.
Briefing newsmen after the arraignment, counsel to the Nigeria Customs Service, Smart Akande, said all necessary application would be filed before the adjourned date.
He said recalled that the Comptroller General of Customs, Hameed Ali, had on August 4, 2021, said officials of the service arrested three persons with a large volume of pangolin scales and elephant tusks worth N22.3 billion in Lagos.
“While displaying the seizures to newsmen in Lagos, the CGC said the 17,137.44 kilograms of pangolin scales (196 sacks), 870.44 kilograms of elephant tusks and 4.60 kilograms of pangolin claws were evacuated at a location on eastern side of Ijeoma Street, Lekki, Lagos State after proper examination.