The illegal arms importation case filed against a Lebanese national and the co-owner of Amigo Supermarket, Mustapha Fawaz, and three of his compatriots was on Wednesday struck out by an Abuja court.
Magistrate Muyiwa Oyeyipo of the Chief Magistrate’s Court, Karu, Abuja stuck out the suit sequel to an application by the prosecutor, Cliff Osagie.
The four Lebanese nationals, Fawaz, Talal Roda, Abdulla Tahini, and Kossay Nourdin were charged for terrorism and alleged importation of firearms. The Department of State Security Service, SSS, and the Nigerian Army stated that arms and ammunition including anti-tank guns were found in buildings belonging to the Lebanese in Kano. After the discovery, Fawaz’s business concerns, Amigo Supermarket and Wonderland Amusement Park in Abuja were sealed off by security agents. Meanwhile, security agents say another suspect, Fauzi Fawaz who co-owns the popular Amigo Supermarket is still at large. All the accused persons are believed to have links with Hezbollah, a militant group.
While applying for the withdrawal of the charges, the prosecutor told the court that further investigation against the accused persons revealed that the offences for which they were charged before the court are outside the scope and jurisdiction of the Magistrate’s Court.
The counsel to the accused persons, Ahmed Raji, did not raise any objection to the application. He however disclosed that he had already filed a preliminary objection challenging the jurisdiction of the court to entertain the case.
The presiding magistrate, Mr. Oyeyipo therefore granted the prayer of the prosecutor and struck out the case against the four accused persons who were subsequently discharged.
The State Security Service is now expected to conclude its investigations and prosecute the accused before a High Court.
Incidentally, the accused Lebanese have filed a suit at a Federal High Court in Abuja, seeking their release from detention and an apology from the Nigerian Security agencies for their detention. They are also asking for N50 billion as damages. The hearing of their bail application has been slated for June 21.