A Lagos Federal High Court, has ordered the remand of alleged drug lord, Stephen Afam Ikeanyionwu, who was arrested in a Pentecostal church 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 conspiracy and unlawful dealing in the banned drug, levelled against him by the anti-narcotic agency.
The defendant, a resident of 1, Mike Ajeri Street, Ojodu-Berger, Lagos State, according to the NDLEA was alleged to have conspired with one Uche and Emekau, who resides in Nigeria, and the dou of one Sunny and Salaja, who resides in United Kingdom, to have attempt 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 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 him in the custody of the Nigerian Correctional Services (NCoS), till the determination of the charge against him, while also asked for a trial date.
The defendant’s counsel also told the court that his client is having an ailment, which is been treated by Airforce Clinic.
Responding to the 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 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.
However, the prosecutor while vehemently opposed the application, informed the court that will not
He also 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. And that consequent upon a prolonged and sustained surveillance spanning to days, he was traced to a Pentecostal church for a Sunday service, where he was arrested.
The prosecutor also debunked the defendant’s health challenges, saying that “he is hale and hearty was not at anytime attended the Nigeria Airforce Clinic or any other hospital”.
He 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 also have other members of the syndicate such as Uche; Emeka; Sunny and Salaja, who based and United Kingdom, and that granting him bail will jeopardized efforts to arrest other members of the gang.
Upon listened 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 the bail application.