Sixteen Russians were today arraigned before a Federal High Court on four count of illegal arms importation into Nigeria. The suspects are: Zhelyazkov Andrey (53), Savchenko Sergay (36), Chichkanov Vasily (49), Varigin Igor (48), Komilov Alexandr (32), Lopatin Alexey (38), Baranovskly Nikolay (50), Mishin Pavel (31), Lia Shubov (33), Dmitry Bannyrn (40), Alexander Tsarikov (44), Kononov Sergel (44) Korotchenko Andrey (23), Vorobev Mikal (40) and Stepan Oleksuik (52).
The third criminal charge filed by the Principal State Counsel from the Attorney General of Federation Office, Mr. E.A. Ezebilo alleged that the sixteen Russians in October, 2012 in Lagos within the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court imported a cache of firearms and ammunition prohibited for importation under section 18 of the firearms act without authorisation. The captain of the ship, MV Myre Seadiver used for the importation of the arms and ammunition was arraigned separately for unlawfully entering Nigeria’s territorial waters without due clearance.
The Russians who could not understand English brought an interpreter from the Russian Embassy to interpret the charge to them. They all pleaded not guilty. Consequently, their lawyer, Chike Okafor and two other lawyers told the court that they have filed bail application and the prosecutor has been served. But their prosecutor, Mr. Ezebilo, told the court he was served this morning, therefore needs two days to file his response. The presiding judge then adjourned the matter till 25 February when the bail application will be heard. The Russian ship was seized October 19 off the coast of Lagos by a naval patrol. Weapons found on the vessel included 14 AK-47 rifles with 3,643 rounds of ammunition as well as 22 Benelli MR1 rifles with 4,955 rounds of ammunition.