The Federal Government has arraigned 15 Russians for unlawful importation of arms and ammunition.
The Nigerian Navy on October 18, 2012, arrested the accused foreigners and arraigned them before Justice Okechukwu Okeke of a Federal High Court, Lagos, on Tuesday.
The accused, who pleaded not guilty to the four counts in the charge, are Zhelyazkov Andrey (the ship Captain), Savchenko Sergrey, Chichikanov Vasily, Varlygin Igor, Komilov Alexandr, Lopatin Alexey, and Baranovskly Nikolay.
Others are Mishin Pavel, LLia Shubov, Dmitry Bannyrn, Alexander Tsarikov, Kononov Sergel, Korotchenko Andrey, Vorobev Mikhail and Stepan Oleksuik.
An official of the Russian Embassy in Nigeria interpreted the charges read to them in English Language.
Justice Okeke adjourned the matter to February 25, 2013, for the hearing of their bail application.
Counsel for the accused, Mr. Chukwuike Okafor, on Tuesday also substituted their bail application dated February 15, 2013, with a new one.
The court granted the adjournment to enable the prosecution counsel, Mr. Ernest Ezebilo, to respond to the application.
A Tinubu Magistrate’s Court in Lagos, presided over by Mrs. Oyindamola Ogala, on February 14, 2013, ordered that the accused be kept in Ikoyi Prison till Tuesday for the hearing of their bail application.
The magistrate extended the remand of the accused to enable the Attorney-General of the Federation to charge the accused formally before the Federal High Court, Lagos.
Part of the charge read, “That the accused did without a licence import a cache of arms and ammunition prohibited from importation under Section 18 of the Firearms Act Cap F28 Laws of Federation of Nigeria 2004.”
Ezebilo alleged that the ship, MV Myre Seadiver, and her Captain, “did unlawfully enter Nigeria’s territorial waters without due clearance and declaration of the goods carried therein on board the ship.”
The offences were said to be punishable under Sections 1(14) (a)(b), 27 of the Miscellaneous Offences Act Cap M17 LFN 2004.
The entering of Nigerian territorial waters without due clearance and declaration of the goods contravened Section 26 of Customs and Excise Management Act Cap C45 LFN 2002 punishable under Section 26(6) of the same Act.
Ezebilo, Principal State Counsel, had filed the suit on behalf of the Attorney-General of the Federation.
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