Two Brazilians, Lima Pereira Erick Diego, 20 and Dias Dos Santos Marcia Cristina, 36, have been arraigned at the Federal High Court, Lagos, for Importing 23.895 kilogrammes of cocaine to Nigeria.
The prosecutor, Mr. Abu Ibrahim said the duo were arrested by the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) at the arrival hall of the international wing of the Murtala Muhammad International Airport, Lagos, on April 18, 2017, during an inward clearance of Emirates flight passengers from Brazil.
In the amended charge, marked FHC/L/138c/2017 the NDLEA alleged that the two Brazilians conspired with one Benson Abiodun and others now at large to brought in the said banned drug to the country.
The first defendant, Lima Pereira Erick Diego, was alleged to have imported 14.495 kilogrammes of cocaine, while the second defendant, Dias Dos Santos Marcia Cristina was said to have imported 9.4 kilogrammes of the same.
The offence according to the prosecutor, Ibrahim, is contrary to and punishable under sections 14(b), 11(a) of the NDLEA Act Cap N30, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.
The two accused pleaded not guilty to the charge of conspiracy, but the first defendant pleaded guilty to charge of importing the drug, while the second pleaded not guilty to the charge.
After taking the pleas, the NDLEA prosecutor urged the court to remand the accused in prison pending the trial.
But the defendants’ lawyers, Mr. O. G. Oyeleke (SAN), and Niyi Onifade argued that he doubted the competence of the interpreter, despite the fact that he was provided by the Diplomatic Service.
The defendant’s lawyers also informed 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 Tuesday, April 24, 2017.
Consequently, they urged the court to let the defence provide the interpreter whose competence they will not doubt.
The defendants’ lawyers also urged the court to allow their client to be remanded in the custody of the NDLEA, pending hearing of the bail application.
But the prosecution raised objection to the defence providing an interpreter in the case.
Instead, he urged the court to compel the court’s deputy chief registrar to provide an interpreter.
Ruling on the submissions of the parties, Justice Mojisola Olatoregun, asked the defendants to produce an interpreter of their choice at the next adjourned date.
However, she said the interpreter provided by the defendants’ embassy must also be present when the charge will be re-read to the defendants and their plea re-taken.
The judge adjourned the matter to May 15 and 16, 2017, for trial, but ordered that two Brazilians be remanded in prison.