The Federal High Court, yesterday, heard how 11 Philippines citizens, were arrested, at Apapa Port, Lagos, for allegedly importing 13.65 Kilograms of Cocaine into the country unlawfully.
The Filipinos that were arrested and charged before Justice Nicholas Oweibo by the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) are: Gerapusco Fidel; Antolin Reynante; Bechayoa Edgar; Voltaire Tejero, (M), Adult, Kent Ryan; Bryan Kamos; Ralph Christopher; Maningo Dennis; Romnick Albarracin; Ervin Pabuaya and Quetua Judezar Servilla.
They were arrested on November 7, 2021, at GDNL Terminal Apapa Port, Lagos, alongside a vessel, MV Karteria.
All the defendants were arraigned before the court on last Friday, May 20, 2022, on a four count-charge of conspiracy, unlawful importation and transportation of the prohibited substance.
The offences according to the prosecutors, Mr. Dinneys F. Owen are contrary to and punishable under section 11(b) and 14(b); of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency Act Cap N30 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004.
At the resumed trial of the defendants Tueday, the lead prosecutor, Mr. Dinneys called two witnesses, Mr. Fredrick Atoni and Luka Zaka, who were both exhibits keepers at the Lagos and Apapa Special Command of the agency respectively.
Fredrick while being led in evidence by the prosecutor told the court how the seized drug was brought to the Lagos Command office by the Apapa Special Command exhibits officer, Mr. Luka, on November 16, 2021.
He also told the court how he received and kept the substance in a safe strongroom. He equally tendered all the exhibits which includes, a big transparent pouch, bulk of the seized drug, a big black back; a big brown envelope housing the sample of the seized drug, and three documents. All were admitted and marked as exhibits A to G.
During cross-examination by Mr. Femi Atoyebi and Babajide Koku, both (SANs), the witness told the court that he was not at the scene of arrest neither was he the one that recover the exhibits. But only received the exhibits from the Apapa Special Command exhibits keeper, record and kept it a strongroom.
Equally, Mr Luka Zaka, the Apapa Special Command exhibits keeper, while being led in evidence by the prosecutor, told the court that he received the prohibited substance at Greenview Development Nigeria Limited (GNDL), Apapa Terminal from upon the arrest of the defendants on November 7, 2021.
He also told the court how he tested the drug and weighed same to be 13.65 Kilograms.
The witness also told the court that he received the exhibits in the presence of all the defendants, but can only identified the vessel’s captain, Chief Officer and the Chief Engineer. And that all he did in relation to the seized drugs was done in the presence of some officers of Nigerian Navy, NDLEA, the vessel’s Captain and crew and the arresting officer.
He also told the court how he transferred the seized drug to Lagos Command office of the agency and handed over to Mr. Fredrick Atoni, the exhibits keeper.
During cross-examination by the dou of Atoyebi and Koku (SANs), the witness said he was not at the scene where the defendants were arrested and that he did not knew when the vessel arrived and berth.
He also told the court that he did not know the total number of the crew on board the vessel but can only identify the captain, Chief Engineer and Chief officer.
Meanwhile, further hearing of the matter has been adjourned till tomorrow