Wednesday, December 9, 2015 3:38 pm
When the world is softening towards marijuana or cannabis and its users and Canada is leading national efforts to legalise it, Nigeria is still implementing a draconian law, probably left behind by the former colonial masters.
A Federal high court sitting in Lagos south west Nigeria,today sentenced a thirty – two year old man Aluagwu Lawrence to life imprisonment for unlawfully dealing in 220 grammes of Cannabis Sativa,otherwise known as Marijuana,while another person, Ameachi Igwe 37 years old, was sentenced to twenty -five years imprisonment by the same court for dealing in 2.7 grammes of Cocaine.
(Please note, the two Nigerians have been given lengthy jail terms for grammes not kilogrammes of cannabis)
In a one count criminal charge number FHC/L/108/15 filed before the court by the NDLEA prosecutor, Jeremiah Aernan, it was alleged that Aluagwu Lawrence,32 years old on the 12th of February,2015 under the bridge Ojota Lagos without lawful authority dealt in 220 grammes of Cannabis Sativa, a narcotic similar to cocaine, Heroin LSD etc and thereby committed an offence contrary to and punishable under sections 11(c) of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency Act, Cap N30 laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004.
He was arraigned before the court on the 16th of June,2015. He pleaded guilty, without a lawyer, rendering him any advice or representing him.
Consequently,the prosecutor, Mr Aernan reviewed the facts of the case as stated in the charge.
When the presiding judge asked him if he has anything to say, he told the court that his father was an Indian hemp smoker who persistently beat his mother before they were sent away from home.
He did not go to school, he said. He further told the court that he was initially training as an athlete at the National stadium when a soldier promised to help him travel abroad but the soldier deceived him and dupe him of his money. Thereafter he has nothing doing,he then started selling Indian Hemp.
In her judgement,Justice Ofili Ajumogobia sentenced him to life imprisonment.
In the criminal charge number FHC/L/202C/15 filed against the second convict Ameachi Igwe ,37, he was said to have on the 8th of May,2015 at Mile 12 Market Lagos without lawful authority dealt in 2.7grammes of Cocaine, thereby committing an offence contrary to section 11(c) of the NDLEA Act
He pleaded guilty. He was not also represented by any counsel.
The fact of the case was also reviewed after which Justice Ajumogobia asked him whether he has anything to say.
The convict urged the judge to temper justice with mercy. Thereafter the convict was sentenced to twenty -five years imprisonment with hard labour.
*The author can be reached at: email@example.com