23rd December, 2010
An Abuja High court on Thursday granted bail to Mr. Azim Aghajani, an Iranian, charged, for allegedly conspiring with 3 others to import and importing containers loaded with assorted calibers of prohibited fire arms into Nigeria.
The presiding judge, Justice Ishaq Bello, hinged the granting of leave to the alleged arms importer to the gesture of the Iranian Embassy which the judge said had gone down well with the Federal Government which did not opposed the bail application and thus strengthened the courtâ€™s believe that there exist a safe ground for releasing the accused person to bail.
Consequent upon the non opposition of the Federal Government to the Iranianâ€™s bail application, the court granted the accused person bail in the sum of 20 million Naira. He is also to produce two sureties who must be officials of the Iranian Embassy and citizens of Iran in the like sum of 20 million Naira each. His appearance before the trial court remains as fixed by the Chief Magistrate, on January 31st, 2011.
Mr. Azim had on 16th December, 2010 approached the high court through his lawyer, Mr. Chris Uche, a senior advocate of Nigeria, for his bail relying on section 341(2) and (3) of the Criminal Procedure Code; and section 35 (4) 39 of 1999 constitution. He also prayed that the bail be sustained pending his trial by the court.
Mr. Uche told the court that his client is presumed innocent until proven guilty, and as such, that he is entitle to bail, which is his fundamental right, noting that the accused person will not jump bail if granted bail and will not in any way jeopardize the proceedings of the court or any on-going investigation.
Others arraigned alongside Mr. Azim are Ali Usman Abbas Jega; Aliyu Oroji Wamako; and Muhammed Tukur Umar. They allegedly attempted to export prohibited firearms, contrary to section 27 (a) (1) (11) (111).
One of the counts read, â€œthat between 7th and 15th July 2010, Azim Aghajani, and Ali Usman Abbas Jega conspired to import and did import thirteen (13) twenty feet (13×20) containers loaded with assorted calibers of prohibited firearms consisting of 60mm mortars, 120m HE mortars, 81mm mortars, 107mm rockets, and 23 mm Apit fot gmzu 23 into Apapa Port, with the jurisdiction of this court. This is contrary to section 27 (a) (1) (11) (111) of the firearms Cap. F28 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004â€.
â€œAlso, that between 12th and 25th October 2010, Azim Aghajani, an Iranian, Ali Usman Abbas Jega, Aliyu Oroji Wamako, and Muhammed Tukur Umar conspired to import and did import thirteen (13) twenty feet (13×20) containers loaded with assorted calibers of prohibited firearms, consisting of 60mm mortars, 120m HE mortars, 81mm mortars, 107mm rockets, and 23 mm Apit for gmzu 23 into Apapa Port, with the jurisdiction of this court, to Banjul, Gambia. This is contrary to section 27 (a) (1) (11) (111) of the firearms Cap. F28 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.â€
By Nnamdi Felix / Abuja