The Federal Government on Wednesday arraigned five men for allegedly importing 661 pump-action rifles into the country without lawful authority.
The arms were intercepted by the Nigerian Customs on January 30 2017.
The accused persons, Mahmud Hassan, Oscar Okafor, Donatus Achinulo, Matthew Okoye, said be at large, and Salihu Danjuma, were arraigned before Justice Ayokunle Faji at the Federal High Court in Lagos.
In the charge, the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice said the accused brought the rifles into the country from Turkey through the Apapa Port in Lagos, using a 40-feet container, which they falsely claimed contained steel doors.
According to the prosecution, in order to evade payment of Customs duty, the accused allegedly forged a bill of lading issued at Istanbul on January 9, 2017, falsely claiming that it was issued at Shanghai, China.
The prosecution also alleged that the first accused, Hassan, corruptly gave one million Naira to government officials at the Apapa Port in order to prevent the search of the container by Customs officials.
The offences were said to be contrary to sections 1(2)(c), 1(14) (a)(i) and 3(6) of the Miscellaneous Offences Act Cap M17, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2014.
The accused, however, pleaded not guilty when the charges were read to them.
Consequently, the prosecuting counsel, K.A. Fagbemi, applied for a date to commence trial but urged the court to order that the accused should be remanded in the prison custody pending trial.
Justice Faji adjourned the case to September 12, 2017 for definite hearing and ordered that the accused be remanded in the prison custody.