Notorious Arms Dealer Oscar Okafor Banned From Attending Mother’s Burial
On Wednesday the 14th of May 2019, a Federal High Court in Lagos rejected a plea by one of the men charged with illegally importing of 661 pump action rifles, Oscar Okafor, seeking leave to attend his mother’s burial.
Justice Ayotunde Faji dismissed the motion on the ground that the charge against the applicant affects national security and was above other interests. Okafor’s co-defendants are: Hassan Mahmud, Salisu Abdulahi Danjuma and a company, Mahmud Hassan Trading Company Limited.
Two other defendants – Donatus Ezebunwa Achinulo and Matthew Okoye – are said to be on the run. The defendants are standing trial on a charge of illegal importation of fire arms, conspiracy, forgery and uttering of documents, offering gratification to government officials and importing prohibited goods.
They were arraigned on June 14, 2017, by the Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) on a charge.
According to the prosecutor, Mr. Julius Ajakaiye, the offences contravened sections 3(6),1(14)(a)(I) 1(2) of the Miscellaneous Offences Act, 2004, and Section 98(1) (b) of the Criminal Code Act. At the resumption of proceedings yesterday, Okafor’s counsel, G. O. Balogun, who represented by Mr. Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), informed the court of his client’s motion for bail to enable him partake in his mother’s burial.
But the court reminded him that Okafor – unlike the other defendants – never appealed an earlier ruling which dismissed bail the applications filed by all the defendants.
When Balogun pleaded with the court to grant the application on passionate ground, prosecuting counsel, Mr. Ajakaiye, opposed him, saying: “There is no sentiment in law.”
Ajakaiye also reminded the court that the applicant did not file a no-case submission after the prosecution closed its case.
He urged the court to dismiss Okafor’s motion.
In a Bench ruling, Justice Faji held: “This court in its previous ruling dismissed the bail applications of all defendants on ground of national security.
“This instant motion has not shown any circumstance overriding national security; the application seems sentimental.
“The third defendant did not file any no-case submission after the prosecution closed its case, meaning that he has a case to answer.
“Consequently, this application is hereby dismissed.”
The judge fixed October 21 for argument and adoption on the no-case submission filed by the other defendants.
The 661 pump action riffles were intercepted by the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) on January 23 on the Mile 2-Apapa Road, Lagos. They were allegedly concealed in a truck that was also carrying steel doors and other goods.