BY OLUGBENGA SOYELE, Lagos
Justice Ayokunle Faji of the Federal High Court in Lagos has granted leave to the National Drugs Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) to destroy a 1×20 feet container loaded with 381 bags of Ammonium Nitrate, a Chemical used in producing explosives.
Justice Faji granted the permission to destroy the said chemical after listening to an ex-parte application to that effect from the NDLEA counsel, Fingere Dinneys.
The anti-drug agency said the lives of the agency’s officers and other well meaning residents of Ikoyi area where NDLEA office is located is in grave danger if nothing is done to destroy the dangerous chemical immediately.
The lawyer further claimed the chemical, Ammonium Nitrate, imported into Nigeria in 2020, by unknown persons is the same that claimed scores of lives and property in Lebanon because it was stored in a warehouse for a long time
Dinneys, therefore, urged the court to order the destruction of the content of the container by burning in a public place.
The application was supported by a 20-paragraph affidavit deposed to by one Olayinka Kareem, a litigation officer of the agency, who established that the container is carrying contraband prohibited items.
The deponent stated that the interception was made following an intelligent report received from the then Serious Organized Crime Agency (SOCA) of the United Kingdom now National Crime Agency (NCA) United Kingdom,.
Kareem further claimed that on September 27, 2010 at Apapa Port, Lagos, the NDLEA intercepted a container Number CLHU 2971347 (1x20ft) via ex-vessel SAMARIA from Barranquilla Colombia.
He also averred that upon diligent examination of the container, 381 bags of brown powdery substance suspected to be hard drugs were found, adding that the forensic analysis carried out on the samples of the substance proved positive for ammonium nitrate, a chemical used in producing explosives.
Kareem stated that the consignee as reported by the then Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) United Kingdom was one ZAKIGREEN Agro Industry Limited, located at 39/41, Great Nigeria Plaza, Martins Street, Lagos Island, Nigeria.
He added that in the course of investigation, it was found at the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) that the company Zakigreen Agro Industries Limited and the address used in the importation of Ammonium Nitrate are fictitious and does not exist.
According to him, due to the threat posed by Ammonium Nitrate due to its explosive components, it is not in the interest of the safety of the society and the environment to continue keeping this dangerous chemical.
He also alleged that with the recent explosion that claimed scores of lives and property in Lebanon was caused by Ammonium Nitrate stored in a warehouse for a long time.
Kareem further stated that the lives of the agency’s officers and other well meaning residents of Ikoyi area where NDLEA office is located is in grave danger if nothing is done to destroy the dangerous chemical immediately.
He consequently urged the court to grant the order sought for.
Adding that it will be in the interest of justice and safety of the general public to grant the application and that no one will be prejudiced by the grant of the application.
After listening to the submission of the counsel, the judge granted the request, holding that the burning must be done in the presence of a senior staff of the court.
Justice Faji then adjourned the matter till March 3, for report of compliance.