Tuesday, December 6, 2016 10:55 pm
By Akin kuponiyi
A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos south west Nigeria today sentenced three Bolivians, to 36 years imprisonment for unlawful production of controlled drug known as Methamphetamine, a drug similar to Cocaine, Heroin and LSD.
The jailed Bolivians are: Reuben Ticono Jorge, Yhugo Chavaez Moreno, and Yerko Artunduago Dorado.
The court, on Monday, November 21, 2016, convicted the three Bolivians after they change their plea from their initial plea of not guilty,they all pleaded guilty to two count charge of drug related offences leveled against them by the National Drugs Laws Enforcement Agency (NDLEA).
Their conviction was followed after the NDLEA’s prosecutor, Mr. Abu Ibrahim, had reviewed the facts of the criminal charge filed against them.
While reviewing the facts of the charge, the prosecutor, Mr. Ibrahim tendered several documentary evidences, which include Certificate of test analysis, drug analysis reports, their written statements written in English and Portuguese languages,and other incriminating materials used in producing the banned drugs, which were admitted as exhibits by the court.
The presiding Judge Oluremi Oguntoyinbo then reserved judgement against the Bolivians till today, following the plea by their lawyer, Chief Benson Ndakara, to be lenient in sentencing them due to the period they had spent in prison custody.
In pleading for lighter jail sentences for the convicts, Chief Ndakara orally cited some legal authorities, but the court ordered him to supply the cited authorities before pronouncing the jail term of the convicts.
Delivering judgment in the criminal charge, Justice Oguntoyinbo, said the jail terms prescribed by the NDLEA Act for count one of the charge is life imprisonment without prescribing minimum sentence.
The judge also stated that the prescribed jail term for second count is 25 years without prescribing minimum jail terms.
Consequently, Justice Oguntoyinbo sentence the three Bolivians to six years each on each count of the two counts,thereby bringing the jail term of each Bolivian to 12 years each,the sentences are to run concurently
She ordered that the jail terms should start running from 2nd of February ,2012 when they were arrested and have been in prison custody since then and that the drugs seized from the convicts should be destroyed by the officials of the anti-drug agency in the presence of the accused counsel.
The convicted Bolivians alongside two Nigerians; Basil Ikechukwu Uzoka and Uba Ubachukwu Collins, were re-arraigned before the court on a six count-charge bordering on unlawful production and storage of the controlled drug.
The convicted Bolivians alongside the Nigerians were only charged on two count charges of unlawful production of controlled drug known as Methamphetamine and unlawful use of a property located at 38, Daily Times Estate, Satellite Town, for the production of the said controlled drug.
One of the Nigerians, Basil Ikechukwu is facing three counts charge of allowing the said property to be used for the unlawful storing of the controlled drug, aiding and financing the convicted Bolivians in production of the drug.
He pleaded not guilty to the charge.
Uba Ubachukwu Collins, was alleged to have allowed the said property to be used for the production of the drug, and also engage in distribution of the controlled drug called Acetone.
The offences alleged to have been committed by the convicts and the accused Nigerian collaborators are contrary to sections 20(1)(a), 12, 14(b), 20(1)(g) and 20(1)(f), and punishable under sections 20(2)(a), and 20(2)(b) of the National Drugs Laws Enforcement Agency Act, Cap. N30, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.
Earlier, Mr Mackings Ezenya who is lawyer to Uba Ubachukwu collins told the court that the accused is dead through an affidavit he deposed to.
But the prosecutor, Mr. Ibrahim, urged the court to discountenance the affidavit on the ground that such affidavit was not supported with any doctor’s report certifying that the accused person was dead.
But the presiding judge, Justice Oguntoyinbo, while not admitting the affidavit as exhibit, ordered the lawyer to attach a death certificate report from either government or private hospital indicating that the accused person is dead indeed.
However, the trial of the fourth accused person, Basil ikechukwu Uzoka, has been adjourned till December 12, 2016.
The author of this story Mr Akin Kuponiyi can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org he Bolivian coming out of court.