The Federal Government yesterday withdrew charge against nine out of 15 Russians being tried before a Federal High Court in Lagos for illegal arms importation into the country last year.
The Russians, who had all earlier been arraigned before Justice Okechukwu Okeke (now retired), are Myre Seadiver, Zhelyazkov Andrey, Savchenko Sergel, Chichkanov Vasily, Varlygin Igor, Komilov Alexander, Lopatin Alexey and Baranovskly Nikolay.
Others are Mishin Pavel, Llia Shubov, Dimitry Bannyrh, Alexander Tsarikov, Kononov Sergel, Vorobev Mikhail and Stepan Oleksiuk.
They had all been arraigned on a four-count charge comprising the alleged offences of entry into the Nigerian territorial waters without due clearance and licence and illegal importation of firearms and ammunition into the country.
At the resumed hearing of the proceedings yesterday, the Federal Government, represented by Mrs. J. I. Igurnumbe, disclosed that those that would be discharged are Zhelyazkov Andrey, Savchenko Sergel, Varlygin Igor, Lopatin Alexey and Baranovskly Nikolay. The others are Llia Shubov, Dimitry Bannyrh, Alexander Tsarikov and Kononov Sergel.
The prosecutor did not state the reason why it wanted to withdraw the charge against some of the accused, but the Director of Public Prosecution, DPP, in the Federal Ministry of Justice, Mrs. Olufemi Fatunde, however, disclosed that at the last adjourned date the charge would be withdrawn because some of the expatriates had been wrongly charged.