The third and last frivolous charge brought against the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Mazi Nnamdi Kanu by the agents of the Department of State Services (DSS) bothers on the importation of equipment into Nigeria.
The charge read thus: “That you, Nnamdi Kanu between the months of March and April, 2015 imported into Nigeria and kept in Ubulusiuzor town in Ihiala local Government Area of Anambra State within the jurisdiction of this honourable court, a radio transmitter known as TRAM 5OL concealed in a container which you described as containing household items, which you so declared and that, you thereby committed an offence punishable under section 47(2) (a) of the Customs and Excise Management Act.”
Now, we publish verbatim, the referenced section-47 of the Customs and Excise Management Act
(CAP C45 L.F.N. 2004). CAP C45 L.F.N. 2004: CUSTOMS AND EXCISE MANAGEMENT ACT (Part III Section-47):
47. Penalty for improper importation of goods, etc.
(1) If any person‐
(a) lands, or unloads in Nigeria, or removes from their place of importation or from any approved wharf, examination station, customs station or customs area‐
(i) any goods chargeable with a duty which has not been paid; or
(ii) any goods imported contrary to any prohibition; or
(b) assists or is otherwise concerned in such landing, unloading or removal; or
(c) imports or is concerned in importing any goods contrary to any prohibition whether or not the goods are landed or unloaded, then, if he does so with intent to evade any such duty or any prohibition, he shall be sentenced to imprisonment for five years without the option of a fine.
(2) If any person‐
(a) imports or causes to be imported any goods concealed in a container holding goods of a different description; or
(b) directly or indirectly imports or causes to be imported or entered any goods found, whether before or after delivery, not to correspond with the entry delivered thereof, he shall be sentenced to imprisonment for five years without the option of a fine.
Having cited the charges and the accompanying laws, let us now explain the charges in its simplest form as follows:
1) That Nnamdi Kanu imported an item into Nigeria between the months of March and April in the year 2015.
2) That the item imported is a radio transmitter called TRAM 5OL.
3) That Nnamdi Kanu kept the item (radio transmitter called TRAM 5OL) at Ubulusiuzor town in Ihiala local government aea of Anambra state.
4) That the item (radio transmitter called TRAM 5OL) was concealed in a container and that Nnamdi Kanu described that container as containing household items.
5) That Nnamdi Kanu declared the container as containing household items.
6) That by declaring the item falsely, Nnamdi Kanu has committed an offence as described in section-47(2a). 7) That Nnamdi Kanu should be punished for the offence which carries a prison term of five years without the option of fine. Please note that on the charge-sheet, the prosecution will be based specifically on section-47(2a) only and the DSS agents are very sure that the item was “imported or caused to be imported“ by Mazi Nnamdi Kanu.
We shall ask questions in the concluding part of this enlightenment series on the frivolous charges.
Barrister Emma Nmezu
Dr Clifford Chukwuemeka Iroanya