Pump action rifles: High Court judge to visit DSS today     

See the 440 pump action rifles intercepted by Customs

Justice Olayinka Faji of the Federal High Court in Ikoyi, Lagos will today visit the Department of State Security (DSS) office in Shangisha, where a consignment of illegally imported 661 pump action riffles intercepted by men of the Nigeria Customs Services (NCS) are warehoused.

The judge made the pronouncement after the prosecutor, Julius Ajakaiye, applied for a visit to the site where the guns are kept so that they can be presented to the court as exhibits.

Ajakaiye had earlier called one Bolaji Adeyemo, an officer of DSS, to give testimony as a witness in the ongoing trial.

Adeyemo informed the court that upon handing over of the contraband to the DSS, he was assigned to take custody of all items seized.

He said the riffles alongside some steel doors and furniture were in a container lashed to a truck marked BDG/246/XG.

The DSS officer, who claimed he is in Exhibit Keeping and Data Retention Unit, stated that he intercepted a container on March 10, 2017 and transferred it to the DSS.

At the resumption of trial yesterday, the defense team; Yakubu Galadima, Adamu Abdulahi, Rotimi Jacobs (SAN) and Paul Ananaba (SAN), crossed examined the witness who told the court how the defendants made false declaration in some Customs documents.

During the cross examination, the defense team tried to established that none of their clients were named in any of the documents tendered by Customs.

It would be recalled that the Nigeria Customs Service had on June 14, 2017, arraigned two of its officials, Muhmud Hassan and Salisu Abdulahi Danjuma, alongside one Oscar Orkafor, Donatus Ezebunwa Achinulo and Matthew Okoye, before Justice Ayotunde Faji, on charges bordering on illegal importation of firearms, conspiracy, forgery and altering of documents.

The offences according to the prosecutor are contrary to the provisions of sections 3(6),1(14)(a)(I) 1(2) of the Miscellaneous Offences Act Cap. M17, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004, and punishable under same act.

On Tuesday, a Deputy Comptroller of Customs, A. M. Adamu, who was a prosecution witness, told the court how the accused persons were arrested, and how the case was reported to the Department of State Security (DSS).

Adamu particularly told the court that the importers also lied in their Customs declaration form, apart from paying less duty.

“The total duty value for the items was $200, 000, but in the declaration, what was laid was $150, 000. They also declared that the good originated from China and Turkey.

“The importers listed 100 pieces of steel doors, 225 packages of steel doors valued at $13, 364, at the exchange rate of N305 to one dollar.

“I discovered a lot of discrepancies in their Customs declaration forms, each documents tells different stories,” Adamu had told the court.

Adamu also told the court that after his investigation, he informed the Comptroller-General of Customs, who directed him to DSS for further investigation, where he also made a statement.

However, the defendants’ lawyers were unable to cross-examine the witness on the ground that they were just served with the proof of evidence on Tuesday.

The lawyers, pleaded with the court for a short adjournment to enable them study the document.

Consequently, the presiding judge adjourned the matter till today for cross-examination of the witness and continuation of trial.  

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