A Federal High Court Lagos, presided over by Justice Oluremi Oguntoyinbo today sentenced a 44 year-old man, Onyeuka Chirotam Slyvanus, to a total of 19 years imprisonment for unlawful importation of hard drugs .
The judge passed the jail term on the convict after he pleaded guilty to three counts charges of conspiracy and unlawful importation of the said banned drugs from Kenya.
The convict, according to the National Drugs Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), was arrested on May 18, 2018, at the Murtala International Airport, Ikeja-Lagos, during inward clearance of passengers Ethiopian Airline from Kenya, through Addis-Ababa to Lagos.
The anti-drugs agency in a charge marked FHC/L/242c/18, was found in possession of the said drugs which he hid in five lady’s hand bags.
The convict was said to have conspired with one Chidi, who resides in Tanzania and one Emma living in Nigeria but now at large, to commit the crime.
The offences according to the prosecutor, Juliana Imaobong Iroabuchi, are contrary to sections 11(d), 11(a) and 14(b) of the National Drugs Law Enforcement Agency Act CapN30, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.
The convict had pleaded guilty to the charges when he was first arraigned before the court sometimes in July, 2018, and admitted to bail in various terms but unable to meet the bail terms.
However, at the resumed trial of the convict today, he elected to change his plea.
Following his change of plea, the presiding judge ordered the prosecutor to review the fact of the crime.
In reviewing the facts of the crime, the prosecutor also tendered some exhibits which includes; convict’s three confessional statements, package of substance bag, duplicate of test analysis, drug analysis report, the seized drugs containing heroine and cocaine, weighing 6.626 kilograms, ECOWAS international passport, Ethiopian E-ticket and boarding pass.
Upon reviewing the facts of the crimes and tendering of exhibits, the prosecutor, Mrs. Iroabuchi, urged the court to convict and sentence the defendant as charged.
Consequently, Justice Oguntoyinbo, while admitting all the exhibits tendered by the prosecution also pronounced the defendant guilty as charged.
Following the judge’s pronouncement, lawyer to the convict, Mrs. U. A. Ekwegh, pleaded with the court to tamper mercy with justice in sentencing her client.
Ekwegh told the court that her client is a first time offender and that he has been remorseful of his act and promised not to engage in crime.
Ekwegh also told the court that she had counseled the convict that crimes does not pay.
She also urged the court to grant her client reformatory punishment instead of punitive sentencing.
Sentencing the convict, Justice Oguntoyinbo held that “I have heard the convict’s counsel plea for leniency. I have heard the counsel saying the convict is a first time offender”.
However, the judge said the law must take its course, she therefore sentenced the convict to seven years in count one and six years in both counts two and three.
The judge however held that the jail terms shall run concurrently and from the first date he was arrested.
The judge also ordered that the convict’s ECOWAS international passport be forfeited to the federal government of Nigeria and that the seized drugs be destroyed if there is no appeal against the conviction after 90 days.