Court’s inability to get translator stalls arraignment of alleged smugglers

 The inability of the Federal High Court in Lagos to get a translator on Wednesday stalled the scheduled arraignment of some men alleged to be involved in smuggling.

Justice Nicholas Oweibo adjourned the arraignment until Aug. 26, to make provision for an interpreter.

Speaking to newsmen after the court adjourned, Mr Smart Akande, Legal Adviser to the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) listed the names of the suspect as: Murybine Berete, Traore Djakouba, Isiaka Musa, Mohammed Berete and Sediki Berete all Ghanaian national.

According to him, during a recent inspection by the Comptroller General of Customs, rtd Col. Hameed Ali, the matter which had to do with smuggling of pangolins will not be swept under the carpet.

He pointed out that the suspects would be charged to court for prosecution.

“Today we are in court to arraign the suspects but unfortunately, we could not proceed because some of them are foreigners and they are supposed to understand the charges before them.

“The chargers should be read in a language they understand so that they can give a plea.

“Because the interpreter was not available due to the fact that the court does not have the facility today, the matter was adjourned to Aug. 26 for arraignment, hoping that the interpreter will be present to interpret the charges to them,” he said.

Akande noted that the court had ordered that the suspects be remained in customs custody pending the arraignment.

He said that the suspects are being charged for four count of being concerned with exporting contraband goods, concerned with storage, loading and bringing in the contraband

“In other words, for them to have exported, they must have loaded it somewhere and this is an offence, bringing it and storing it somewhere are offences and they carry some penalty and that is why we are here,” he said.

Mr Olayinka Lawal, counsel to the defendants also collaborated the response of Akande on the issue of adjournment which was due to the defendants not understanding any Nigerian language as well as the court language.

He hoped that by the adjourned date, an interpreter would have been gotten for the suspects.(NAN)