Court frees 7 India nationals charged with drug importation

A Federal High Court in Lagos has discharged seven India citizens and a Nigerian, charged by the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) of unlawful importation of illicit drugs into the country.

Justice Ayokunle Faji freed the seven Indians namely; Singh Vikash, Kunnaserypallam Ashraf Inzam, Xaiver Fernando Santhanaria, Mandal Surjeet Ashok, Tandel Pratikkumar Pravinbai and Barthwal Rohan Sunil.

A Nigerian freed from the allegations was Shedrack Yurama.

The defendants were cleared by Justice Faji after he upheld their no case submissions filed by their counsel, Mr. Femi Atoyebi, Tunde Adejuyigbe, both Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SANs) and others, in a three count amended charge of conspiracy and unlawful importation of 43.1 kilograms of cocaine into the country, filed against them by the NDLEA.

The freed men were charged before the court on July 9, 2021.

They were charged alongside Tobi Ojo, Kunle Animashaun, Peter Odigie Ozasuwa and a limited liability company, Oilways Logistics and Energy Limited.

They were alleged to have committed alongside one Franklyn Pereowei Godwin, said to be at large.

The freed men and others were alleged to have brought in the banned substance in a vessel named MV Spar SCORPIO.

They were alleged to have committed the offenses on February 8, 2021, at the Tincan Port, Apapa, Lagos.
Delivering ruling on the no case submissions on Monday, Justice Faji, after perusing all the processes and citing several legal authorities, upheld the eight men’s no case submissions, and ordered the first, second, fourth, fifth and sixth defendants to open their defence.

The judge, after the ruling, also made a consequential order for the release of traveling passports to all the seven Indians, and release of the freed Nigerian from custody of the Nigerian Correctional Services (NCoS) as requested by their counsel.

The trial judge, Justice Faji has adjourned till December 6, 8 and 9, for other defendants to open their defence.

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