The trial of a vessel, MV Chayaneenaree, ten Thailand Nationals and nine Nigerians, accused of smuggling 32.9kg of cocaine into the country will resume at a Federal High Court in Lagos on June 23, 2022.
The trial judge, Justice Daniel Osiagor, fixed the date to allow the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) provide an interpreter for a smooth trial of the defendants.
At the last hearing of the matter, NDLEA’s lawyer, Fingere Owen Dinneys, pleaded with the court to give the agency more time to search for an appropriate interpreter. In the absence of any opposition from any of the defence lawyers, the judge granted the prosecutor’s request and adjourned the matter to June 23, 2022 for commencement of trial.
It would be recalled that the defendants were arrested on October 13, 2021, at Apapa, by NDLEA’s operatives while allegedly trying to smuggle the banned substance into the country. They were subsequently arraigned in court for the alleged offence.
The Thai Nationals arraigned were: Krilerk Tanakhan; Boonlert Hansoongnern; Jakkarin Booncharoen; Thammarong Put-t-ek; Worrapat Paopinta; Marut Kantaprom; Werapat Somboonying; Urkit Amsri; Panudet Jaisuk and Amrat Thawom. However, the names of their Nigerian accomplices were given as: Samuel Messiah; Ishaya Maisamari; Ilesanmi Ayo Abbey; Osabeye Stephen; Gbenga Ogunfadeke; Kayode Buletiri; Rilwan Omotosho Liasu; Saidi Sule Alani and Jamiu Adewale Yusuf.
They however denied the alleged offence upon their arraignment and they were subsequently admitted to bail under varying conditions. In the charge, the defendants were accused of committing the alleged offence which contravenes Sections 11 (b), 11(a) and 14 (b) of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency Act Cap N30 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004, alongside some individuals said to be at large.