Tuesday, February 7, 2017 7:12 am
A Federal High Court in Lagos on Monday, sentenced three convicts, Okechukwu Nwachukwu, Osita Ilechukwu and Blessing Eluwa to a term of 5 years imprisonment each for cocaine trafficking.
The accused were charged by the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) on three counts bordering on conspiracy, unlawful importation and trafficking of restricted narcotics.
They had pleaded not guilty to the charges.
The prosecution led by Mr Abu Ibrahim had then opened trial in the suit on March 10, 2016.
He called11 witnesses and tendered a total of 21 documents as exhibits before the court.
The convicts testified for themselves while final addresses were adopted on Nov. 28, 2016.
Delivering judgment on Monday, Justice Mojisola Olatoregun found the accused guilty of the offence as charged.
“I am satisfied that the three accused conspired in furtherance of the offence for which they are charged to court.
“On the whole I find that the prosecution succeeded in discharging the onus on it to establish it’s case. I find each of the accused guilty as charged and each is accordingly convicted.
“The three accused are first offenders, they must, however, be strongly deterred as there is no short cut to wealth.
“On count one, the accused are sentenced to a term of five years imprisonment each or an option of N5 million fine
“On count two, the second accused is sentenced to a term of five years imprisonment with an option of N5 million fine
“On count three, the third accused is sentenced to a term of five years imprisonment with an option of N5 million fine.
“The terms of imprisonment shall run consecutively while the fines are cumulative.
“The exhibit, 5.89 kg of cocaine together with the substance in exhibit F1 are to be destroyed by men of the NDLEA within 90 days if there is no appeal against this judgment; the exhibits are not to be recycled,” she held
During allocutus, defence counsel had begged the court to be merciful with the sentence on the convict, adding that the month of February marked a season of love for all.
They had urged the court to tamper justice with bountiful mercies.
In the charge, the convicts were said to have conspired to import 5.89 kg of cocaine from Brazil into Nigeria.
The first convict (Nwachukwu) was said to have induced the third convict (Eluwa) to convey the narcotic from Brazil to Nigeria.
According to the prosecution, the third convict was arrested during the inward clearance of passengers on board a Qatar Airline flight from Brazil.
The third convict was arrested while investigations led to the arrest of the other convicts.
The offence is said to have contravened the provisions of sections 11 (b) of the NDLEA Act, Cap N30 Laws of the Federation, 2004.