Wednesday, April 26, 2017 2:38 pm
By Akin Kuponiyi
Two Brazilians, Lima Pereira Diego, and Dias DOS Santos Marcia Cristina, were today arraigned before a Federal High Court in Lagos, south west Nigeria , for importing 23.895 kilograms of Cocaine into Nigeria.
The two were arrested at the arrival Hall of Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, on 18 April 2017, during an inward clearance of passengers of an Emirates Airlines flight from their country, Brazil.
National Drug Law Enforcement Agency in an amended criminal charge number FHC/L/138c/2017, filed before the court alleged that the two Brazilians conspired with one Benson Abiodun and others now at large to bring in the said banned drug to Nigeria.
The first accused, Diego, was alleged to have imported 14.495 kilogrammes of Cocaine, while the second , Cristina was alleged to have imported 9.4 kilograms of the same banned substance.
The offences alleged to have been committed by the the two accused Brazilian , are contrary to and punishable under sections 14(b), 11(a) of the NDLEA Act Cap N30, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.
When the charge was read and interpreted by one Mr. Adeniran O, provided by the Brazilian embassy, the two accused pleaded not guilty to the charge of conspiracy. However, Diego pleaded guilty to the charge of importing the drug, while Santo pleaded not guilty to the charge.
After the pleas were taken, the NDLEA prosecutor, Abu Ibrahim, urged the court to remand them in Prison custody pending trial.
But the defence lawyers, Mr. O. G. Oyeleke (SAN), Mr Adebayo Onifade, and Mrs Adedoyin Oluwafemi told the court that they doubt the competence of the interpreter, despite the fact that he was provided by the Brazilian diplomatic service.
The defence lawyers also told the court that they were yet to be furnished with the Proof-of-Evidence of the matter, and that they were just briefed about it yesterday evening. Consequently, they urged the court to let the defence provide the interpreter of their choice whose competence they would not doubt.
The defence lawyers also urged the court to allow their client to be remanded in the custody of the NDLEA, pending hearing of their bail applications.
But the prosecution equally raised objection to the defence providing an interpreter in the case, rather, he urged the court to compel the court’s Deputy Chief Registrar (DCR), to provide an interpreter.
Ruling on the submissions of the parties, the Presiding Judge, Mojisola Olatoregun, ruled that the defence should produce an interpreter of their choice at the next adjourned date, but said the interpreter provided by the Brazilian embassy must also be present when the charge will be re-read to the accused and their plea re-taken.
Thereafter Justice Olatoregun adjourned till May 15 and 16, 2017, for trial, but ordered that the two accused Brazilians should be remanded in Prison custody.