Nigeria customs arraigns three for illegal importation, forgery of documents

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By Ishola Oludare

The Ikeja Zone ‘A’ Federal Operations Unit (FOU) of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) on Tuesday, arraigned three suspected smugglers before a Federal High Court sitting in Oke-Mosan, Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital.

They were arraigned for alleged illegal importation of goods as well as forgery of documents.

The three accused persons, Ismail Shaibu Kolo, Jimoh Yakubu and Abdullahi Muazu were arraigned on two separate counts bothering on forgery and conspiracy to commit wits by forging the NCS documents, particularly the Service’s “Exit Note” to evade the necessary duties payable to the government.

While arraigning the accused before the court in suit number: FHC/AB/31C/’23, the prosecuting counsel and an NCS Assistant Legal Adviser, Bar. Vivian Aigbadon told the court that the accused persons committed the offences between January and February 2023 around Owode-Idiroko road, Yewa South Local Government Area of Ogun State.

In the charge sheet, the prosecutor told Justice Demi Ajayi, that the three accused persons “conspired to forge Nigeria Customs Service documents Exit Note declaration form: Ports & Terminal Multi-Services Limited (PTML) Provision Assessment form, knowing the documents to be false and with the intent that may in any way, be used and acted upon as genuine.”

Barr. Aigbadon argued that the offence committed is contrary to and punishable under Section 1 (2) (C) of the Miscellaneous Offences Act, Cap. M17 Law of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.

While the first and second defendants, Shaibu and Yakubu are standing trials for forgery and conspiracy, Abdullahi Muazu is being tried for the illegal importation of a Toyota Rav-4 Utility vehicle and some bags of foreign parboiled rice, as well as illegal possession of some contraband.

In their pleas, the defence counsels, Orisadare and Ndudi told the court that the bail applications for the three accused persons were not ready and pleaded the court to adjourn till next week.

The court, therefore, ordered that the three defendants be remanded at the correctional centre within its jurisdiction till May 16, 2023.

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