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Court frees six Indians, Nigerian accused of smuggling cocaine

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A Lagos Federal High Court on Monday discharged seven Indian citizens and a Nigerian, charged by the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) for unlawful importation of cocaine into the country.

The seven Indians freed by the court presided over by Justice Ayokunle Faji are: Singh Vikash; Kunnaserypallam Ashraf Inzam; Xaiver Fernando Santhanaria; Mandal Surjeet Ashok; Tandel Pratikkumar Pravinbai and Barthwal Rohan Sunil.

While the Nigerian freed from the allegations was Shedrack Yurama.

Justice Faji cleared the men, after he upheld their no case submissions filed by their counsel, Mr. Femi Atoyebi, Tunde Adejuyigbe, both Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SANs) and others, in a three count amended charge of conspiracy and unlawful importation of 43.1 kilograms of cocaine into the country, filed against them by the NDLEA.

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The freed men were charged before the court on July 9, 2021, alongside Tobi Ojo, Kunle Animashaun, Peter Odigie Ozasuwa and a limited liability company, Oilways Logistics and Energy Limited, on the charges.

They were alleged to have committed alongside one Franklyn Pereowei Godwin, said to be at large.

The freed men and others were alleged to have brought in the banned substance in a vessel named MV Spar SCORPIO.

They were alleged have committed the offences on February 8, 2021, at the Tincan Port, Apapa, Lagos.

The offences according to the prosecuting team led by Mrs. Theresa Asuquo, Section 11(a) and 14(b) of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) Act Cap N30 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria (LFN) 2004, and punishable under the same Act.

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During the trial, the prosecution called 25 witnesses and tendered several exhibits, which were admitted by the court.

However, all the defendants after the closing of prosecution case, opted to and filed no case submissions. The prosecution equally filed responses to the submissions.

Delivering ruling on the no case submissions today, Justice Faji, after perusing all the processes and citing several legal authorities, upheld the eight men’s no case submissions, and ordered the first, second, fourth, fifth and sixth defendants to open their defence.

The first, second, fourth, fifth and sixth defendants ordered to open their defence are: Tobi Ojo; Kunle Animashaun; Oilways Logistics And Energy Limited; Peter Odigie Ozasuwa and Omozusi Enorose Terry.

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The judge after the ruling, also made a consequential order, for the release of traveling passports to all the seven Indians, and the release of the freed Nigerian, from the custody of the Nigerian Correctional Services (NCoS), as requested by their counsel.

Meanwhile, Justice Faji has adjourned till December 6, 8 and 9, for other defendants to open their defence.

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Franklyn Pereowei GODWIN

    November 9, 2022 at 12:14 am

    I and my company is wrongly accused here. And I keep wondering why the press and NDLEA keeps saying I am at large. Don’t you guys do investigative journalism or you just put out there a one sided story. You guys are not doing justice to the oppressed and it’s quite disheartening.

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