Olanrewaju Lawal, a 49-year-old soldier from Lagos State, has been charged by the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) for trafficking tramadol and other illegal substances.
Lawal, who was charged on Tuesday, March 7, 2023, before Justice Akintayo Aluko, is accused of six counts that include conspiracy and illegally transporting prohibited narcotics.
The defendant and others now at large operated a drug trafficking organization between September 15, 2022, and January 12, 2023, when he was arrested at Ago Palace Way, Okota, Lagos State, according to the prosecutor, Mr. Lambert Nor, who is the head of the NDLEA's legal/prosecution department of the Lagos State Command. Nor informed the court that the defendant was found in possession of large quantities of illegal substances, including codeine-based syrup weighing 1,469 liters and weights of 223.65 kilograms of tramadol hydrochloride 250 mg, 28.40 kilograms of tramadol hydrochloride 225 mg, 169.4 kilograms of pregabalin, and 1,236.5 kilograms of tramadol hydrochloride.
The prosecution also informed the court that every substance on the list was "identified by the United Nations Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs 1961 and its Protocol and the Convention against Illicit Trade in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances 1988," among other international treaties.
The NDLEA Act, Cap. N 30, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004, Sections 14(b) and 11(b) were violated, according to the prosecutor.
However, the defendant entered a not guilty plea to the accusation brought against him.
The prosecutor asked the court for a trial date after the defendant entered a not-guilty plea and to detain him in custody.
Kolawole, the defendant's attorney, informed the court in response to the prosecutor's request that the bail application for her client had been submitted and served on the prosecutor.
Also, she begged the judge to let her client remain in NDLEA's care while the court considered the bail motion.
After hearing from both attorneys, Judge Aluko issued an order remanding the defendant to the care of the Nigerian Correctional Services.
The prosecution also filed an ex parte application to temporarily seize the soldier's vehicle and several of his bank accounts, as well as the material that was transported in it.
The inquiry showed that the money was the product of unlawful activity, the prosecutor told the court.
Accordingly, Justice Aluko delayed the case till March 17, 2023, for decision on the ex parte application.
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