The Federal Government has withdrawn the charge against some Lebanese found to have illegally brought into the country a cache of arms.
The State Security Service, SSS, had charged Abdallah Thaini, Mustapha Fawaz and Talal Roda, before a Karu Chief Magistrates’ Court in Abuja, for criminal conspiracy and unlawful importation of prohibited firearms.
However, at the resumed hearing of the case yesterday, counsel to the SSS, Clifford Osagie, informed the court of the prosecution’s desire to withdraw the charge against the suspects.
Osagie predicated the withdrawal on the grounds that the facts contained in the First Information Report, FIR, robbed the court of the needed jurisdiction to entertain same.
In the application for withdrawal, the SSS said: “The accused persons were remanded based on the charge in the FIR but investigation has progressed extensively and facts that appear in the course of investigation are clearly related to offences which are outside the jurisdiction of this court.
“The case file has been forwarded to the Attorney- General of the Federation for further action on the matter.”
Responding to the motion, the defence counsel, Ahmed Raji (SAN), said he was not objecting to the move.
He said: “As rightly submitted by the prosecuting counsel, offences linked on the FIR border on terrorism, which are beyond the scope of this court. Based on this, we filed a preliminary objection on the 17th of June to challenge the court’s jurisdiction.”
Consequent upon this, presiding magistrate, Chief Magistrate Yemi Oyeyipo, struck out the charge and accordingly, discharged the accused.
He said: “Having listened to the oral application of the prosecuting counsel and the submission of the defence counsel, I hereby grant as prayed that the charge filed on the basis of First Information Report, FIR, on June 5, 2013 is hereby struck out.