The Ogun area command of the Nigeria Customs Service has arraigned four suspects on allegation of smuggling rice into the country without payment of duties.
The suspects, identified as Azeez Zonu, Ebenezer Adeyemi, Adeniyi Olalekan and Salahudeen Taiye, were charged to the Federal High Court, Abeokuta, Ogun State on Thursday on five counts of smuggling, failure to pay import duties and possession of smuggled items.
The suspects were reportedly caught with several bags of imported rice brought into the country in vehicles through unapproved routes.
Counsel to the Customs, Abbas Ibrahim, told the court that the offences were against Section 47 of the Customs and Excise Management Act, Cap. C45 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.
However, the defendants pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Defence counsel, S.O. Kayode, who applied for their bail, noted that the accused persons remained innocent until the allegation against them are proved.
The prosecution counsel opposed the bail application, arguing that there was no formal application to the effect.
But Justice Mohammad Abubakar ruled that formal application was not mandatory before the defendants could be granted bail.
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