Court remands smugglers for attacking customs officers with charms in Ogun

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Two suspected drug smugglers, Felarun Oluwasegun and Fakore, have been remanded in custody after being accused of using charms and a horsewhip to attack members of the Ikeja Zone “A” Federal Operations Unit of the Nigeria Customs Service in Abeokuta, the capital of Ogun State.

The Federal High Court’s Justice Adefunmilayo Demi-Ajayi issued an order remanding the accused to an Abeokuta jail pending the outcome of their bail hearings.

The accused were charged with three charges of assault, unlawful possession of contrabands, and importing 37 bags of foreign parboiled rice without authorization.

According to the customs prosecutor, Assistant Legal Adviser Vivian Aigbadon, the accused committed the crime on February 21, 2023, at the Owoyele axis of Igbogila in the Yewa North Local government of the area.

Aigbadon claimed that while carrying out their official duties as anti-smuggling agents, the accused conspired to physically harm two operatives known only as Joseph and Echem.

The acts, according to Aigbadon’s testimony to the court, were in violation of Section 11(a), Cap. “C45” of the Customs and Excise Management Act, which is punishable by the 2004 Federation of Nigerian law.

Defence attorney O.O. Oyedele requested the court to grant his clients’ bail requests on the grounds of their physical condition in a petition for their bail applications.

He claimed they sustained life-threatening injuries during the clash with the anti-smuggling operatives.

Justice Demi-Ajayi, however, adjourned ruling on their bail applications till May 30, 2023.

In another suit, the court also adjourned ruling on the bail applications of three suspected smugglers arraigned last week Tuesday for allegedly forging Customs’ documents till May 24, 2023.

The smugglers, Ismail Shaibu Kolo, Jimoh Yakubu and Abdullahi Muazu, were said to have “conspired to forge Nigeria Customs Service documents Exit Note declaration form: Ports & Terminal Multi-Services Limited Provision Assessment form”.

When the matter came up for mention on Tuesday, the customs’ prosecutor in her counter-affidavit, opposed the bail applications of the accused persons on the ground that they are likely to tamper with the ongoing Customs’ investigations, particularly when other members of the smuggling syndicate are still at large.

Aigbadon argued that the accused may abscond, stressing that there are also reasonable grounds to believe that the accused persons will go back and still commit another crime related to the one for which he is being prosecuted.

After listening to the arguments, the presiding judge adjourned the ruling on their bail applications till May 24, 2023.