Court sentences man to 7 years imprisonment over drug importation

A Brazil-based Nigerian, Nogueria Achiagonye Solomon Onyinye, was today convicted and sentenced to seven years imprisonment, by a Federal High Court, Lagos, for unlawful importation of 1.5 kilograms of Cocaine.

Onyinye was given the jail term by Justice Ayotunde Faji, after the National Drugs Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) had reviewed the facts of the crime against the convict, after changing his plea. 

The convict was arrested by the operatives of the NDLEA, on January 8, 2018, at the arrival hall of Murtala Muhammad International Airport, Ikeja, Lagos, during inward clearance of passengers of Royal Air Maroc Flight AT555 from Brazil via Casablanca Morocco with the banned drug.

The convict, who hold a Cape Verde international passport, had on March 13, 2018, pleaded not guilty to a count charge of unlawful importation of the said banned drugs into the country, levelled against him by the NDLEA and he was admitted to bail in various terms.

However, on May 18, 2019, the convict through his lawyer, Mr. E. U Okenyi, told the court of his intention to change his plea and Justice Faji ordered that the charge be read to him for his plea to be retaken.

After the charge was read him on May 18, 2019, the convict pleaded guilty to the charge and the court adjourned for review of facts of the matter by the prosecuting agency.

In reviewing the facts of the case, the prosecutor, Mr. Abu Ibrahim called two witnesses, the arresting officer and the agency’s exhibits keeper, as well as tendering several exhibits which  include the seized drug, Cape Verde international passport and others.

After the reviewed the facts of the case, the prosecutor urged the court to convict the defendant as charged and sentence him accordingly.

Consequently, Justice Faji pronounced the defendant guilty as charged. 

But before the court could passed the jail term, the convict’s lawyer, Okenyi urged the court to be lenient in sentencing his client on the ground that he is a first time offender and the breadwinner of the family.

Okenyi also informed the court that his client had become remorseful due to the period he spent in detention and promised not to engage in such act if given second chance.

Delivering judgment in matter, Justice Faji sentenced the convict to seven years imprisonment while ordering that the seized drug be destroyed if there no appeal against the judgment after 90 days.

Justice Faji also ordered the NDLEA to inform the Nigeria Immigration Services of the convict’s conviction. While also ordered the Services not to issue any travel passport to the convict until he get ‘prerogative mercy’ from the Nation’s President, according to the Section 30 of NDLEA Act.

Furthermore, the judge also ordered NDLEA to confiscate the Cape Verde International passport seized from the convict.

The term of the convict’s conviction according to the judge shall commenced from the date of his arrest, which was January 8, 2018.

Charge against the convict reads: “that you Nogueria Achiagonye Solomon Onyinye, Male, Adult on or about the 6th day of January, 2018 during the inward clearance of passengers on Royal Air Maroc Flight AT555 from Brazil via Casablanca Morocco at the Arrival Hall of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport(MMIA) Ikeja, Lagos, without lawful Authority Imported 1.5 Kilogrammes of Cocaine, a Narcotic Drug and you thereby committed an offence contrary to and punishable under Section 11(a) of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency 
Act, Cap N30, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004″.

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