Story by Gbenga Ogunbufunmi
A Federal High Court, Lagos today ordered the Chinese Embassy in Nigeria, to provide sureties for its national, Liu Jianfeng, who was charged before the court for dealing in drug trafficking.
Justice Saliu Saidu, made the order, while admitting the Chinese, who was arraigned before the court alongside two Nigerians, Collins Onwukwe and Ogbonna Nworie, by the National Drug Laws Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), of five counts charge bordering on unlawful dealing in 387.7 grams of Methamphetamine, a hard drug similar to cocaine and heroine.
In the charge against Jianfeng and the two Nigerians, NDLEA alleged that the accused had between 2015 and 2018 conspired together and formed, managed and finance a drug cartel, Drug Trafficking Organization (DTO), to process and export the said hard drug.
They were also alleged to have on November 14, 2018, at the DHL office at NAHCo, Ikeja, Lagos, exported 387.7 grammes of Methamphetamine, from Lagos to Lusaka, Zambia.
The offences according to the NDLEA’s lawyer, Jonathan O., the offence is contrary to and punishable under sections 14(b), 20(1)(g), 11(c), 11(c) and 11(d) of the National Drug Laws Enforcement Agency Act Cap. N 30, laws of the Federation, 2004.
The accused pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Following their plea of not guilty, the Prosecutor asked the court for a trial date and further requested the court to remand the accused in prison custody, till the determination of the charge.
Lawyer to the accused, Chief Benson Ndakara, told the court that while he is not objecting to the hearing date for trial, he , however, informed the court the he has bail applications for the defendants which he said has been served on the prosecution.
The Prosecutor, Jonathan, admitted serve of the motion on him and that he has filed a counter affidavit to the effect.
Upon hearing the submissions of counsel on the bail applications, the Presiding Judge, Justice Saidu said, “I have gone through the applications before me, I am of the view that the defendants are entitled to bail.
“I therefore admit the defendants to bail in the sum of N20 million each. The embassy of the first defendant is to provide the two sureties for their national while one of the sureties to the second and third defendants are to be a blood relation to the defendants”.
The judge also ordered that the second sureties to the second and third defendants must be a Grade Level 15 officers in the Federal or Lagos State Ministry.
The judge while adjourning the matter till March 26, for trial, ordered that all the defendants be remanded in prison custody pending the fulfillment of the bail terms.