A hard drug merchant, Okonkwo Simon Chukwudi, has been sentenced to three years imprisonment by a Lagos Federal High Court, for attempting to export 10 kilograms of Cannabis Sativa, popularly called marijuana, to Maputo, the Mozambique capital.
The court presided over by Justice Ayotunde Faji, handed down the jail term on the drug merchant, after listened to the alocutor from his lawyer, Mr. Sunday Okwo.
The convict had pleaded guilty on a county charge of the offence, when he was first arraigned by the National Drug Laws Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) before Justice Abdulaziz Anka on August 16, 2018.
He also pleaded guilty to the charge when he was rearraigned on August 24, before Justice Faji, following the transfer of Justice Anka to another jurisdiction of the court.
However, at the last hearing of the matter, the convict, made detour and pleaded not guilty to the charge.
Following his change of plea, the prosecution led by Mr. Abu Ibrahim, commenced trial and called two witnesses, who told the court how the convict was arrested with the drug.
However, midway to the trial, the convict changed his plea again and pleaded guilty to the charge.
With the new development, Justice Faji ordered the prosecutor to review the facts of the case.
Reviewing the fact of the case, the prosecutor, Mr. Ibrahim tendered some exhibits which includes; the convict’s confessional statement, international passport, sample and laboratory test analysis of the banned weed and others.
After reviewing the facts of the case and tendering of the exhibits, the prosecutor urged the court to convict and sentence hard drug merchant. Justice Faji consequently convicted the merchant, while adjourned his sentence today.
At the resumed hearing of the matter on Friday, the convict’s lawyer, Mr. Sunday Ekwo, pleaded with the court to tamper justice with mercy in sentencing his client, as he was a first time offender without previous of criminal record.
Ekwo urged the court to grant the convict a second chance, as he had promised not to go back to crime.
Following the plea for mercy of the counsel, Justice Faji, sentenced the convict to three years imprisonment.
The judge also ordered that the jail term commences from April 7, 2017, when he was apprehended.
The charge against the convict reads: “That you Okonkwo Simon Chukwudi, Male, Adult, on or about 7th April, 2017 during the outward Clearance of Cargoes to Maputo, Mozambique at the NAHCO Export-Shed, a Customs Area, of the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Ikeja, Lagos without lawful Authority Exported 10 Kilogrammes of Cannabis Sativa, a Narcotic Drug, you thereby committed an Offence contrary to and punishable under Section 11(b) of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency Act Cap N30, Laws of the federation, 2004”.