Customs Gets Court Nod to Remand Importer of Indian Hemp Laden Container

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A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos on Thursday has ordered the remand of one Philip Elue, an alleged importer of 1 X 40ft container, laden with 86 packs of Cannabis Sativa, popularly called Indian Hemp.

Justice Akintayo Aluko ordered Philip’s remand in the custody of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Tin Can Island Port, Apapa, Lagos State, till August 31, 2022, when investigation would have been concluded on the alleged crime.

Justice Aluko made the remand order, after listening to the submission made by Mrs. Kehinde Bode-Ayeni.

In urging the court for the order, Mrs. Bode-Ayeni told the court that the application was pursuant to Section 294 and 295 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015; Section 8 and 181 Of the Customs and Excise Management Act, Cap. C46 L.F.N. 2004; Sections 6 (6), 35 (1)(c), (5) and (7)(a) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) and
Order 46 Rule 4(d) of the Federal High Court Rules.

Mrs. Bode-Ayeni also told the court that the remand order against the respondent is for 14 days, till the conclusion of the Customs investigation into a case of conspiracy, unlawful importation of cannabis sativa (colorado) and improper importation which are prohibited items, which is contrary to the Customs and Excise Management Act, Cap. C45, L.F.N. 2004 and Miscellaneous Offences Act, Cap. M17, LFN 2004.

Mrs. Bode-Ayeni her arguments with an affidavit deposed to by M. A. Kayode, a litigation officer in the legal department of the Nigeria Customs Services.

Justice Aluko after listening to Mrs. Bode-Ayeni’s submissions, held that the application has merit and same is granted accordingly.

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Justice Aluko adjourned the matter till August 31, for report of investigation.

Nigeria Customs Services in an affidavit in support of the application, stated that on June 15, 2022, it’s enforcement unit officers, Apapa, were detailed by the Area Controller, based on credible intelligence, to monitor a 1X40ft Container No. TGBU 98965313, laden with 86 packs of cannabis sativa, aboard a ship. And that upon examination of the container, it was discovered that cannabis sativa was concealed in two plastic drums, found inside a 2010 Mercedes Benz 4matic jeep.

It was further stated that investigation led to the arrest of the respondent, who detailed of other co-accomplices who were involved in the importation and manipulation of records and Customs documents to facilitate the unlawful importation, and they are being trailed by officers of the NCS.

The Service also stated that efforts are being intensified by the operatives of the Enforcement Unit of the Customs Area Command, Apapa, to arrest Collins Osamar and Ifeanyi Nwogo who were actively involved in the importation of the illicit drugs and to aid their criminal intentions.

The service also stated that investigation into the case cannot be completed within 24 or 48 hours as stipulated by the Constitution for which the operatives of the Nigeria Customs Service can lawfully detain the Respondent in their custody. And that it is necessary to seek the order of the court to “remand the respondent herein, pending the conclusion of investigation and likely prosecution in the court of law,

The service stated that releasing the Respondent on bail will interfere with the ongoing investigation and would likely hamper a proper investigation.

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