PHOTOS: Seized Arms: Iranian Operative, 3 Nigerians Arraigned
SAN FRANCISO, Nov 25, (THEWILL) – The State Security Service (SSS) today in Abuja arraigned an Iranian national believed to be a member of the Elite Military Unit, Mr. Azimi Aghajani, 43, and three Nigerians on a two-count charge following a seizure of deadly arms imported into the country via a Lagos port. They were arraigned at an Abuja Magistrate Court.
The men according to Nigerian government officials conspired amongst themselves to import 13 containers from Iran packed with mortar rounds and RPG’s hidden in building materials. The seizure in October prompted Nigeria to formally file a report against Iran with the United Nations Security Council.
According to court papers, Azim Adhajani, is a Tehran-based businessman and member of Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps. Two other Nigerians were charged for conspiring to ship the deadly cargoes out of Nigeria to The Gambia after they were flagged by Nigerian security for lack of proper documentation.
The accused persons were alleged to have between the 7th and 15th of July, 2010 conspired to import and did import Thirteen  twenty feet containers loaded with different types of prohibited firearms consisting of 60mm mortars, 120m mortars, 81mm mortars, 107mm rockets and 23mm April into Nigeria.
The second count charge alleges that between the 12th and 25th of October, Azim Aghajani, Ali Jega, Ali Wamako and Mohammed Umar conspired to export the said containers from apapa port to Banjul, Gambia contrary to section 27  a of the firearms act.
Adhajani refused to take a plea as he asked for legal representation from the Iranian Embassy which subsequently led Chief Magistrate Hasfat Soso to adjourn to the end of January, 2011 for trial.
The three Nigerians charged are Ali Usman Abbas Jega, an Abuja based businessman; Ali Oroji Wamako and Mohammed Tukur both customs clearing agents, who entered a not guilty plea.
They were thereafter remanded in SSS custody.
Nigeria's secret police has not been able to question another Iranian who took refuge at the Iranian Embassy in Abuja claiming diplomatic immunity. He has since left Nigeria with the Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki, who was in Abuja early in November following the seizure and the Iranian link to the weapons.
Photo: Azimi Aghajani, 43, alongside accomplices with SSS operatives at the Abuja Magistrate Court today, November 25, 2010.