Suspected drug lord Stephen Afam
Story By. Gbenga Ogunbufunmi
The Federal High Court, Lagos has ordered the remand of an alleged drug lord, Stephen Afam Ikeanyionwu, who was arrested in a Pentecostal church at Ojodu, Lagos by the Operatives of the National Drugs Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA).
The court presided over by Justice Tijjani Ringim, made the remand order on Thursday, following the drug lord’s not guilty plea to the six counts charge of conspracy and unlawful dealing in the banned drug, leved against him by the anti-narcotic agency.
The defendant, a resident of Number 1, Mike Ajeri Street, Ojodu-Berger, Lagos State, according to the NDLEA was alleged to have conspired with one Uche and Emeka, who resides in Nigeria, and the dou of one Sunny and Salaja, who resides in United Kingdom, to have attempted to smuggle the banned substance which consists of Indian Hemps, Cocaine and heroin, weighing a total of 66.65 kilograms,to the United Kingdom (UK), through his logistics and freight forwarding company, named Farawell Company Limited.
He was alleged to have committed the offences on August 22, at NAHCO Export Shed, a Customs Area/Point of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Ikeja-Lagos.
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.
Upon the defendant’s arraignment and his not guilty plea, the prosecutor, Mr. Abu, urged the court to remand the defendant in the custody of the Nigerian Correctional Services (NCoS), till the determination of the charge against him, while also asked for a trial date.
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. Adding that the application for his bail has been filed and same has been served on the prosecutor.
He told the court that his client will not jump bail if granted and that he will always attend the court to face his trial till the determination of the charges against him.
The defendant’s counsel Dennis Warri told the court that his client is having an ailment, which is been treated by Airforce Clinic.
Responding to the defendant applicationan for bail hemently opposed the application for bail .
Abu told the court that upon the seizure of the said drugs, a man-hunt was launched to arrest the defendant who had relocated from the residential address supplied to the freight/logistic company, adding that consequent upon a prolonged and sustained surveillance spanning days, he was traced to a Pentecostal church at a Sunday service, where he was arrested.
The prosecutor also debunked the defendant’s health challenges, saying that “he is hale and hearty and did not at anytime attend the Nigeria Airforce Clinic or any other hospital”.
Abu also told the court that the defendant is a drug dealer and an anchorman of a drug syndicate operating within Nigeria and the United Kingdom, that he also have other members of the syndicate such as Uche; Emeka; Sunny and Salaja, who are based in United Kingdom, and that granting him bail will jeopardised efforts to arrest other members of the gang.
Upon listening to counsel’s submissions, Justice Ringim ordered that the defendant be remanded in the custody of NCoS till September 15, when he will rule on his bail application.