BY INNOCENT ANABA
LAGOS — A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos, yesterday, remanded 15 Russians at Ikoyi Prisons, Lagos, pending the determination of their bail application.
The Russians were, yesterday, arraigned on a four-count charge of unlawful importation of firearms and ammunition into Nigeria, unlawful possession of firearms as well as non declaration of the content of their vessel.
The accused are: Zhelyazkov Andrey, Savchenko Sergel, Chichkanov Vasily, Varlygin Igor, Komilov Alexander, Lopatin Alexey and Baranovskly Nikolay, Mishin Pavel, Llia Shubov, Dimitry Bannyrh, Alexander Tsarikov, Kononov Sergel, Korotchenko Andrey, Vorobev Mikhail, and Stepan Oleksiuk.
They were charged alongside their vessel, Mv Myre Seadiver. The accused pleaded not guilty to the charge.
The prosecution told the court that the accused and their vessel were arrested by Naval officers on October 18, 2012, within the Nigerian territorial waters, in Lagos State, as they entered the Nigerian territorial waters without due licence and clearance from the Nigeria Customs Service, contrary to provisions of the Customs and Excise Management Act, 2002.
The court was told that the vessel was arrested and opened by the Naval officers, who discovered a cache of firearms and ammunition concealed in it, an offence that contravened provisions of the Firearms Act, Cap F28, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004, as well as provisions of the Miscellanous Offence Act, Cap M17 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.
But defence counsel informed the court of the accused pending bail application which was argued. The prosecution requested for a date to respond to the bail application by defence counsel.
Trial judge, Justice Okechukwu Okeke, adjourned the matter till February 25 for the prosecution to reply to the bail application of defence counsel and odered that the accused be remanded at the Ikoyi Prisons, Lagos, pending the determination of their bail application.