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NDLEA Arraigns 10 Thais, Nine Nigerians Over Hard Drugs Importation

Shola Soyele  
Updated February 24, 2022
A file photo of an official of the NDLEA backing the camera.

 

The National Drugs Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) has arraigned ten Thailand citizens, nine Nigerians and a vessel, MV Chayaneenaree before the Federal High Court in Lagos for allegedly importing 32.9 kilograms of cocaine into the country.

The foreigners and their alleged Nigerian accomplices were docked before Justice Daniel Osiagor on a four-count charge of conspiracy; unlawful transportation and unlawful importation of the said ban narcotic.

The Thais arraigned alongside the vessel were: Krilerk Tanakhan; Boonlert Hansoongnern; Jakkarin Booncharoen; Thammarong Put-t-Ek; Worrapat Paopinta; Marut Kantaprom; Werapat Somboonying; Urkit Amsri; Panudet Jaisuk and Amrat Thaw.

While the nine Nigerians were: Samuel Messiah; Ishaya Maisamari; Ilesanmi Ayo Abbey; Osabeye Stephen; Gbenga Ogunfadeke; Kayode Buletiri; Rilwan Omotosho Liasu; Saidi Sule Alani and Jamiu Adewale Yusuf.

The NDLEA prosecutor, Mrs Theresa Asuquo told the court that the defendants were arrested on October 13, 2021, at Apapa in Lagos.

She said the defendants allegedly committed the offences alongside: Kehinde Enoch, Ayo Joseph and one Tunde, who are all said to be at large.

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Asuquo maintained that the offences are contrary to and punishable under sections 11 (b), 11(a) and 14 (b)  of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency Act Cap N30 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.

All the defendants pleaded not guilty to the charge when it was read to them by the court’s registrar with the assistance of an interpreter.

After their pleas were taken, Asuquo asked the court for a trial date and an order remanding the defendants in the custody of the Nigerian Correctional Services.

But their lawyers: Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Femi Atoyebi, Benson Ndakara, Bolanle Kolawole, Chief Lilian Omotunde and Bayo Onifade asked the court to hear the bail applications they had already filed on behalf of their clients.

Atoyebi told the court that the Thailand Nationals have earlier been granted administrative bail by the NDLEA for $1000,000 each and the owner of the vessel had also provided a $5 million Bond for the vessel.

The senior lawyer, therefore, urged the judge to allow the foreigners to continue to enjoy the terms of the administrative bail granted to them by the NDLEA.

Atoyebi also urged the court for an order stating that upon the verification of the bond by the Admiralty Marshall or its substitute, the men of Nigerian Navy on board of the vessel disembark forthwith and the vessel be released to sail.

Other lawyers in the matter also informed the court of their client’s bail applications and urged the court to admit them to bail in the most liberal terms.

In her reply to the application, the prosecutor told the court that the NDLEA was only opposed to the bail application filed by the 12th to the 20th defendants.

She told the court that the vessel and the 10 Thais, have been granted administrative bail on some terms, which they had complied with.

Asuquo said, “Before now, they were granted administrative bail by the agency and we have executed ‘escrow account’, where they deposited $100,000 each.

“For 12th to 20th defendants, we are only asking that the bail conditions to be given to them should be one that will compel them to attend their trial.” she stated

She further informed the judge that the vessel has been released based on the security provided by the owners.

In his ruling, Justice Osiagor directed that the Thais will continue to enjoy the bail terms granted to them by the NDLEA. He granted bail to the Nigerians in the sum of N1 million each with one surety each in like sum.

The judge ordered that the surety must be resident within the court’s jurisdiction.

Justice Osiagor also granted the request made by Atoyebi on the release of the vessel.

He then adjourned the case till May 17 for the commencement of the trial.