Talal Ahmed Roda, one of the three Lebanese prosecuted by the Federal Government in connection with the armoury discovered in Kano, was on Friday jailed for life by an Abuja Federal High Court.
But the other two accused persons – the co-owner of Amigo Supermarket, Mustapha Fawaz, and Abdallah Tanini, were set free after the court ruled that the prosecution did not prove the 16-count charge brought against them.
The 16-count charge filed against the three accused persons and two business concerns – Amigo Supermarket and Wonderland Amusement Park Resort – involved elements of terrorism, money laundering and miscellaneous offences.
In the judgment which lasted several hours, Justice Ademola Adeniyi held that the prosecution was not able to prove the terrorism and money laundering aspects of the charge against any of the accused persons.
However, the 3rd accused person, Roda, who was resident in the house located on No. 3 Gaya Road, Kano, where the armoury was discovered in an underground cell by the State Security Service, was convicted for conspiring to illegally import and store prohibited weapons.
Roda, a Lebanese who was born in Nigeria, was a squatter in the house which was owned by another Lebanese, Abdalhassan Tahir, an in-law to Fawaz, the 1st accused person.
Justice Ademola held that the prosecution presented ample evidence to prove that Roda conspired with Tahir, who is currently at large, to import and store the weapons in the house on No. 3 Gaya Road, Kano.
Moreover, Roda had admitted, in statements tendered in court by the prosecution, that he serviced the weapons, which were stored in coolers in an underground bunker.
Specifically, Roda was convicted on counts 7 and 9 of the 16-count charge, which accused him of conspiring with his landlord, Tahir, Ghazi Kassim and others at large to illegally import and store the prohibited weapons at No. 3 Gaya Road, Kano.
The said weapons include 21 rocket propelled grenades with chargers, one rocket propelled grenade launcher, 16 RPC chargers, four landmines, 11 anti rockets (16mm), two mortars (81mm), 76 military type hand grenades, 17 AK47 rifles, 10,921 pieces of AK47 ammunition and nine PPK pistols.
Others are one PPK pistol magazine, one sub-machine gun, 103 parcels of TNT slabs each containing three pieces TNT, 334 ammunition, 80 pieces of explosives initiators, 18 hand grenades, two improvised explosive devices, and four pieces of Walter IPK launchers.
Counts 7 and 9 – on which Roda was convicted – which concerned the illegal importation and storage of the prohibited weapons, are offences contrary to section 1 (14)(a)(i) of Miscellaneous Offence Act, CAP M17, LFN 2004, both of which attract life sentences.