Story By Gbenga Ogunbufunmi
Two suspected hard drugs traffickers, Ugwu Onuora Hypolistus and Okafor John Okechukwu, were today arraigned before a Federal High Court, Lagos, for alleged attempt to export cocaine and methamphetamine to Doha, the capital of Qatar and Madagascar, South Africa.
The two defendants, according to the different charges preferred against them by the National Drug Laws Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), were arrested on November 26 and 30, 2020, at the departure hall of Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Ikeja, Lagos, during an inward clearance of passengers, while attempting to smuggle the banned drug, weighing 1.445 kilograms of cocaine and methamphetamine out of the country.
While Ugwu was alleged to have attempted to smuggle 350 grams of cocaine to Doha, the capital of Qatar, Okafor was said to have attempted to smuggle 1.095 kilograms of methamphetamine to Magadascar, South African.
The offence according to Mr. Augustine Nwagu, the NDLEA counsel, contravened section 11(b) of the NDLEA Act Cap. N30 Laws of the federation of Nigeria, 2004.
The defendants denied the allegation and pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Following their not guilty plea, the prosecutor, Mr. Nwagu, asked the court for a trial date, while he also urged the court to remand the defendants in the custody of the Nigerian Correctional Services (NCoS) till the determination of the charge.
However, their counsel, Mrs. Ifedigbo C. L., urged the court to give him a short date to enable him file their bail applications.
Consequently, Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke, while adjourned the matter till February 8, for their trial, ordered that the two defendants be remanded in the custody of the Nigerian Correctional Services (NCoS), till when their applications will be entertained determined.
The charge against Ugwu reads, “that you Ugwu Onuorah Hypolisus male, adult on or about the 26th day of November 2020 during the outward clearance of passengers on Qatar Airways flight to Doha at the screening 11 point of the Departure Hall of Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Ikeja, Lagos within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court without lawful authority exported 350 grammes of Cocaine and thereby committed an offence contrary to and punishable under Section 11(b) of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency Act Cap N30 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004”.
The charge against Okafor reads; “that you Okafor John Okechukwu, male, adult, on or 30th days of November, 2020, during an outward clearance of passengers on Ethiopian Airline flight to Madagascar, at the screening 11 point of the Murtala Muhammad International airport, Ikeja, Lagos, within the jurisdiction officials this Honourable Court without lawful authority exported 1.095 kilograms of methamphetamine, a narcotic similar to Cocaine, Heroine and LSD and thereby committed an offence contrary to and punishable under Section 11(b)of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency Act Cap N30 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004”.