Customs officer arraigned for marijuana trafficking

Customs gwoke Emmanuel

A Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) officer, Ugwoke Emmanuel, was on Thursday arraigned by the National Drugs Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) on drug trafficking charges before a Federal High Court sitting in Lagos.

The court read a two-count charge of unlawful selling and transporting of 384 kilograms of cannabis, or marijuana.

Emmanuel, a 25-year-old native of Bale-Oko in Badagry Local Government Area, Lagos State, allegedly transported cannabis using an official NCS Toyota Hilux at the Gbaji Customs checkpoint along Seme-Badagry Road on May 14, 2017.

The accused works at the Seme Border Post of the NCS.

The alleged offenses are contrary to sections 19 and 20(1)(a) and punishable under section 20(2) of the National Drugs Laws Enforcement Agency Act Cap N30, law of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.

Emmanuel pleaded not guilty to the charge.

Consequently, the NDLEA prosecutor, Aliyu Abubakar, while requesting the court to fix a trial date, urged the court to remand him in prison custody pending his trial.

The defendant’s lawyers, Benson Ndakara and Viviane Ekwegh, pleaded with the court to admit him to bail on liberal terms, as they filed an application for his bail and a copy of the application had been served on the prosecutor

The presiding judge, Justice Hadizat Rabiu-Shagari, while adjourning the matter till September 28, 2017 for ruling on the bail application, ordered that the accused officer be remanded in prison custody.