The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) will on September 25, arraign a vessel, MV Cooper Island and its 11 Crew members, for unlawful importation of 24 kilograms of Cocaine, before a Lagos Federal High Court, Lagos.
The court presided over by Justice Akintayo Aluko, fixed the date, a sequel to the agreement of NDLEA lawyer, Mr Abu Ibrahim and defence team lawyer, Mr Olatunde Adejuyigbe (SAN).
The 11 crew to be arraigned alongside the vessel are Krasnoperov Oleksi, the Master of the vessel; Enesa Julio (Jnr) Pedrogosa; Nonan Ulysses Doria; Duran NielStephen Dias; Frugalidad Francis Cabaluna; Akulov Oleg; Emano Marlon Acut; Alado Elpe De Pedro; EmpedradoRyan De Jesus; Liquit Niel and Morris Auxtero.
The vessel with its 22 crew members was arrested by the NDLEA operatives on July 6, 2023, at Tin Can Island Seaport, Lagos.
They were alleged to have smuggled the banned substance in bulk of sugar imported from Brazil to Nigeria.
Upon the arrest, the anti-narcotic agency, through its lawyer, Abu Ibrahim, approached the court presided over by Justice Nicholas Oweibo, on July 28, with an Expartemotion, for an order to detain them pending the conclusion and their prosecution.
In granting the order, Justice Oweibo held that the defendants be remanded till August 17, for the report of investigation.
Other crew members who were exonerated by the NDLEA after investigation were: Sarmiento Neco Manalo; (10) Pantukan Michael Constatino; Guion Aguinaldo Villas; Torino JhundhelAdang; Tupas Risan Jub Sola; Valencia Ceaser Jr. Carbagon; Peralta Jestoni Dalida; Teljona Elvis Urag; Loreno Regino Jr. Salaum and Adelanter Louie Luis Lapascau, listed as nine to 12 and 17 to 22 defendants in the proposed charged filed against them.
However, while the order to remand all the defendants, was still subsisting, their lawyer, Mr. OlatundeAdejuyigbe (SAN), approached the court for the order to be discharged, but the application which was vehemently opposed by the NDLEA.
At the last hearing of the matter on Tuesday, which was slated for the arraignment of the vessel and its culpable crews, NDLEA lawyer told the court that the agency had just recently contacted the representatives of the vessel, MV Cooper Island and that they promised to send their official down to the country, to represent the vessel in the criminal charge.
The NDLEA lawyer, thereafter asked the court for a short date, so that the vessel and it’s crew could take their plea on the pending charges against them.
With the Abu’s submissions, lawyer to the vessel and its crew, Mr. Adejuyigbe (SAN) who had earlier urged the court to discharge the Exparte order granted by Justice Oweibo, acceded to NDLEA lawyer’s request for adjournment.
Consequently, Justice Aluko, adjourned the matter to September 25, for the defendants’ arraignment.