The trial of five men who were charged with illegal importation of 661 pump-action guns continued on Monday, with the first defendant, Mahmud Hassan, alleging that the gang paid N1 million to security agents to smuggle-in the gun consignment at the Apapa Port, Lagos.
Hassan made the allegation in a video played in court on Monday by the prosecution.
The video was played in a trial-within-trial to test the voluntariness of the statement made by Hassan while in the custody of the Department of State Services.
Hassan’s lawyer, Yakubu Galadima, had, at the previous hearing, opposed the move by the prosecution to tender his client’s statement as an exhibit, contending that he was tortured to make the statement.
Justice Ayokunle Faji had then ordered a trial-within-trial to test the voluntariness of the statement.
At Monday’s proceedings, the prosecution played a video of how Hassan was interrogated by the DSS operatives.
The clip indicated that the interrogation was conducted on March 27, 2017 between 2pm and 2.45pm.
The prosecution tendered the video clip in court through a DSS operative, Jaiye Emmanuel.
The video captured Hassan as saying while being quizzed: “I gave N1 million to facilitate the moving of the container out of the port, but it is not because of the guns.”
When Hassan was asked how the N1 million was shared among security agencies, he said: “The examiners were given N200,000; C.I.U. N100,000; enforcement N200,000; police, SSS, between N20,000, N25,000, and N30,000; the toll gates, N200,000; exit gate, N20,000; and final gate, N50,000.”
The clip also captured Hassan saying that he first billed the owner of the consignment N3.8 million when he was first told that the container contained steel doors, but raised the cost of clearing the consignment to N4 million when he was told that the consignment included 661 pump-action guns.
Hassan is standing trial alongside Oscar Okafor; Donatus Achinulo; Matthew Okoye, said to be at large; and Salihu Danjuma.
They were arraigned by the Federal Government on June 14, 2017 for allegedly importing 661 pump-action rifles into the country without lawful authority.
In the eight charges pressed against the defendants, the Attorney General of the Federation said the defendants brought 661 pump-action rifles into the country from Turkey through the Apapa Port in Lagos, using a 40-feet container, which they falsely claimed contained steel doors.