One of the suspects accused of importing 661 pump action rifles, Mahmud Hassan, on Wednesday alleged that Department of State Services (DSS) operatives threatened to shoot and “waste” him if he did not write a statement dictated to him.

Hassan said he became “traumatised” and afraid and did as he was asked for fear of being shot.

He said five fully armed operatives surrounded him when he wrote statements at the DSS detention.

The suspect said he slept with his hands and legs chained, while he was blindfolded all through his detention except when writing statements.

He was testifying in a trial-within-trial at the Federal High Court in Lagos to determine the truthfulness of statements he made at the DSS.

Justice Ayokunle Faji ordered the trial-within-trial after defence counsel, Yakubu Galadima, objected to the prosecution’s move to tender Hassan’s statement on the basis that it was not made voluntarily.

The Federal Government arraigned Oscar Okafor, Donatus Achinulo, Hassan, Mathew Okoye (at large) and Salihu Danjuma for illegally importing double barrel shortguns, pump action rifles and single barrel shotguns (firearms) without authorisation.

Hassan, who said he went into clearing business after retirement from Nigeria Customs Service, claimed that Okafor asked him to clear a container containing steel doors as stated in the bill of laden, and that he did not know that the container was loaded with arms.

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