Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 26 July 2014

Four charged over weapons at port

Four people have been held after arms were seized at Nigeria's busiest port

An Iranian and three Nigerians have been charged with arms trafficking in connection to an arms shipment seized at Nigeria's busiest port.

The Magistrate Court in Abuja charged Iranian Azeem Aghajani for attempting to import prohibited arms into Nigeria with the intent of sending them to nearby Gambia.

The court also charged three Nigerians, Ali Usman Abass Jega, Aliu Oroji Wamakko and Mohammed Tukur in connection with the seizure in October.

Nigeria reported Iran to the United Nations after Nigerian security officials seized a hidden shipment of military-grade arms that originated in Iran and passed through Nigeria's busiest port in Lagos.

Artillery rockets and other weapons, loaded in 13 shipping containers that were labelled as building supplies, were seized on October 26.

In court, Aghajani said he needed his embassy to represent him before he could present his plea. The three Nigerians pleaded not guilty, but only one of them was represented in court.

The Nigerian defendant's lawyer argued for bail, but prosecutor Matthew Idakwo contested the request.

"This is a matter of great national importance and if I may add, it has international implications," said prosecutor," he said.

"These arms were imported from Iran to our country. It is of great interest to the world. In fact, the United Nations has interest in this matter."

Magistrate Judge Hafsat Soso said the four men would remain in the custody of Nigeria's State Security Service as investigations continued.

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