Alleged Illegal Firearms Importers Opt For Plea Bargain

Two out of the five men being prosecuted by the Federal Government for unlawful importation of 661 pump-action rifles into the country have indicated their intention to enter into plea bargain with the prosecution.The defendants – Mahmud Hassan, Oscar Okafor, Donatus Achinulo, Matthew Okoye, said to be at large, and Salihu Danjuma – had been arraigned by the Attorney General of the Federation on June 14 before the Federal High Court in Lagos.They had all pleaded not guilty to the eight charges pressed against them, while the trial judge, Justice Ayokunle Faji, refused their bail applications in view of the gravity of the charges levelled against them.The matter was subsequently adjourned till September 25 for trial.However, at the resumed proceedings on Monday, the second and third defendants, Oscar Okafor and Donatus Achinulo, respectively, who had changed their lawyers, indicated their intentions to change their plea from not guilty to guilty.The application was made orally on behalf of Okafor by Mr. Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), his new lawyer, and on behalf of Achinulo by Mr. Paul Ananaba (SAN).However, the judge directed the defendants to notify the AGF of their intention.The matter was subsequently adjourned till September 26. 

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