The Federal Government Monday closed its case against five men who allegedly imported 661 pump action rifles without license.
The Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) arraigned the defendants at the Federal High Court in Lagos on June 14, 2017 for illegally importing double barrel short guns, pump action rifles and single barrel shotguns (firearms) without authorisation.
Count one of the charge said the defendants “on or about January 21, 2017, at Apapa, Lagos conspired to illegally import into Nigeria 661 pump actions rifles.”
The prosecution said they brought the arms from Turkey through the Apapa Port in Lagos, using a 40-feet container, which they falsely claimed contained steel doors.
Prosecuting Counsel Mr. Julius Ajakaiye, a Deputy Director in the Federal Ministry of Justice, said the defendants attempted to bribe Customs officials.
Hassan Mahmud, Salisu Danjuma, Oscar Orkafor, Donatus Achinulo and Matthew Okoye, said to be at large, and a company, Mahmud Hassan Trading Company Limited, are the defendants.
They were charged with illegal importation of fire arms, conspiracy, forgery and “uttering” of documents, offering of graft to government officials and importation of prohibited goods.
The alleged offence contravene sections 3(6), 1 (14)(a)(I) 1(2) of the Miscellaneous Offences Act of 2004 and Section 98(1) (b) of the Criminal Code Act.
The court heard from a ballistic expert that forensic analysis was conducted on the guns on June 1, 2017.
The Officer-In-Charge of Ballistic Section, Force Criminal Intelligence and Investigation Department (Force CIID) Alagbon-Ikoyi, Lagos, Tanimu Jeremiah, said he identified the guns.
He said the analysis followed a request via a May 25, 2017, letter from the Lagos office of the Department of State Services (DSS)
He said the firearms include a Gorgev Magnum Black 502, Gorgev Magnum Silver 137, Alpha Silver 10, Strong Silver 10 and tornado pump action two, numbering 661.
The witness said the pump action guns, which had serial numbers, were prohibited.
Hassan, a retired Assistant Comptroller of Customs, had earlier claimed that he was chained and threatened him with a gun in bid to force him to confess to the crime.
In a trial-within-trial, he denied confessing to conspiring with others to use his company, Hassan Trading Limited, to import the arms.
Justice Ayokunle Faji adjourned until April 4 and 5 for defence.