26th April, 2017
Two Brazilians, Lima Pereira Diego, and Dias DOS Santos Marcia Cristina, were on Wednesday arraigned before a Federal High Court, in Lagos, south west Nigeria, for Importing 23.895 kilograms of cocaine into the country.
The two accused Brazilian were arrested at the arrival Hall of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, on April 18, 2017, during an inward clearance of passengers of an Emirates Airlines flight from their country, Brazil.
The 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 Benson Abiodun and others now at large to bring in the said banned drug to Nigeria.
The first accused Lima Pereira Erick Diego, was alleged to have imported 14.495 kilogrammes of cocaine, while the second accused, Dias Dos Santos Marcia Cristina was alleged to have imported 9.4 kilograms of the same banned substance.
The offences committed by 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, but the first accused Lima Pereira Erick Diego pleaded guilty to the charge of importing the drug, while the second accused Dias Dos 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 doubted the competence of the interpreter, despite the fact that the interpreter 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 the matter yesterday evening. Consequently, they urged the court to let the defence provide the interpreter of their choice whose competence they will 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 prosecutor also 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 retaken.
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.