Judiciary

Court Sentences Two to Jail Over Illegal 1570 Firearms Importation

 

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Justice Ambrose Allagoa of a Federal High Court in Lagos, on Wednesday, April 24, sentenced two defendants, Moses Ifeuwa and Festus Emeka, to two years imprisonment, over the illegal importation of 1570 firearms.

The convicts were sentenced to two years in prison with an option to pay a sum of N1 million for each of the eight counts, making it N8 million.

The defendants were charged alongside a company named Great James Oil and Gas Ltd.

They were initially charged and had commenced trial in 2018 before Justice Saliu Saidu.

However, Justice Saidu retired from the bench, leading to the reassignment of the case to another judge, Justice Ambrose Allagoa.

The defendants were consequently, re-arraigned in 2021 before Justice Allagoa on an eight counts charge bordering on illegal importation of firearms.

Each of them pleaded not guilty to the charge.

The prosecution then opened its case and began trial, but the defendants subsequently, opted for a plea bargain with the office of the Attorney General.

The court had consequently, convicted the defendants and adjourned sentence for April 24.

When the case was called on Wednesday, Mrs Aderonke Imana announced an appearance for the prosecution, Mr Alpheus Ifeanyi appeared for the first defendant and Mr Yakubu Galadima appeared for the second defendant.

Counsel to the second defendant, Mr. Galadima, informed the court that the defendants had been in custody for about three years before bail and prayed the court to consider the fact.

While delivering the judgment, Justice Allagoa gave effect to the plea bargain agreement reached between the prosecution and defence.

The court held that in such a situation, the court is to take into consideration the provisions of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA), and should not impose the maximum sentence on the defendants, or impose consecutive sentences.

Justice Allagoa held: “The defendants are sentenced to two years imprisonment or an option of N8 million fine, each count costing N1 million. The sentence shall run concurrently.”

According to the charge, the defendants were alleged to have conspired among themselves to unlawfully import a total of 1570 pump action rifles into Nigeria.

They were also alleged to have loaded the said rifles in two 1× 20 feet containers as well as forged a bill of lading.

The offence contravenes the provisions of Section 1(14)(a), 1(14)(a)(i), 1(2)(c)  and 3(6), of the Miscellaneous Offences Act Cap. M17, Law of the Federation 2004. (Nation)

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