By Akin Kuponiyi

Failure of three accused persons alleged to have imported toxic material into the country to appear in court stalled their arraignment on Monday before a federal high court sitting in Lagos, southwest Nigeria.

When the matter was mentioned Monday, Deputy Director Litigation from the office of the Attorney General of the Federation, Akin Akintewe, told the court that apart from the first accused person, all other accused persons had been served.

Counsel to the accused persons, Chidi Ilogu, SAN,  had wanted to apply for bail but the presiding judge, Justice Okechukwu Okeke said the application could not be entertained since the accused persons were not in court.

In a three-count criminal charge filed before the court by Akintewe, it was alleged that Rumok David of B654, Alaba International Market, Ojo, Lagos, sometime in January, 2013 allegedly imported without lawful authority electronic harmful waste in a 40-feet container number ECMU 9870858 containing a mixture of functioning and non-functioning electrical and electronic equipment in a vessel named MV Marivia and thereby committed an offence contrary to section 1 (2) (b) of Harmful Waste Act and punishable under section 6 of the same act.

It was further alleged that Mgbachi Fidelis Chibuzo of Ndu Best Plaza, Shop 1, number 8, Ndubuisi Close, off Saint Peters Anglican Church, Alaba International Market, Ojo, Lagos and Bonik Investments Limited at the same period imported without lawful authority toxic harmful electronic waste in the same container, in the same vessel.

At same time and place, M.V. Marinia was also alleged to have imported into Nigeria electronic harmful waste of functioning and non-functioning electrical material.

Based on mutual agreement of the prosecutor and the defence counsel, the presiding judge, Justice Okechukwu Okeke, adjourned the matter till 4 February, 2013 when the four accused persons will be produced for arraignment.