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Arms shipment: Iranian, clearing agent re-arraigned in Lagos

By Innocent Anaba
An Iranian, Azim Aghajani, and a clearing agent, Ali Abbas Jega, were, yesterday, arraigned before a Federal High Court sitting in Lagos, amid tight security, over the importation of 13 container loads of firearms into the country, last year.

The premises of the Federal High Court, Lagos and its environs, yesterday, witnessed heavy security presence, as the road, Oyinkan Abayomi Drive, which leads to the court premises, was closed between 11:30 a.m. and 4 p.m.

The accused persons were brought to the court premises in a white Toyota bus with number plate BJ 78 EKY.

Trial judge in the matter, Justice Okechwukwu Okeke, who commenced hearing in the matter at about 2: 41p.m., turned down an application by the counsel to the accused persons, to have the matter adjourned.

Counsel to the accused persons had argued that the planned arraignment was an ambush, as they had earlier been charged before an Abuja Chief Magistrate Court, and even granted bail by an Abuja High Court, adding  that the prosecution was yet to serve his client with the charge.

It urged the court to grant a short adjournment to enable him study the charge and advise the accused persons accordingly.

At that point, the court ordered counsel to the Federal Government to serve the accused persons with the charge and stood the case down for 30 minutes after which it was read to the accused.

The accused persons pleaded not guilty, after the charge was read to them, while the Federal Government applied that they be remanded in the custody of the State Security Service, SSS, pending the trial date.

The court ordered that the accused be remanded in SSS custody pending trial, while the matter was adjourned till February 15, 16 and 17 for trial.


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