Gavel PHOTO: getty images
A FEDERAL High Court sitting in Lagos has ordered the remand of alleged drug baron, Stephen Afam Ikeanyionwu, who was recently arrested in a Pentecostal church in Ojodu area of Lagos State by Operatives of the National Drugs Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA).
Justice Tijjani Ringim made the remand order following the drug lord’s not guilty plea to the six-count charge of conspiracy and unlawful dealing in the banned drug preferred against him by the anti-narcotic agency.
According to the NDLEA, the suspect conspired with one Uche and Emeka, who resides in Nigeria, and one Sunny and Salaja, who resides in United Kingdom (UK), to attempt to smuggle the banned substance which consists of Indian Hemps, Cocaine and heroin, weighing a total of 66.65 kilogrammes to the UK through his logistics and freight forwarding company, Farawell Company Limited.
He was alleged to have committed the offences on August 22, 2021, at NAHCO Export Shed, a Customs Area/Point at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Ikeja.
The offences, according to the prosecutor, Mr. Abu Ibrahim, contravened Sections 14(b) and 21(2)(d) of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency Cap. N30, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 and punishable under the same Act.
After entering his plea, the prosecutor urged the court to remand the suspect in the custody of the Nigerian Correctional Service (NCoS) till the determination of the charge against him, while also asking for a trial date.
Responding to the prosecutor’s application, the defendant’s counsel, Mr. Dennis Warri, pleaded with the court to admit his client to bail in the most liberal terms.
He stated that the application for his bail had been filed, adding that it had also been served on the prosecutor. Warri also told the court that his client had an ailment, which was being treated by Airforce Clinic.
After listening to both arguments, Justice Ringim ordered that the defendant be remanded in the custody of NCoS till September 15, 2021, when he would rule on the bail application.