The Federal High Court in Lagos yesterday convicted and sentenced a drug baron, Okonkwo Simon Chukwudi, to three years imprisonment for attempting to export 10 kilograms of Cannabis Sativa, popularly called marijuana, to Maputo, the Mozambique capital.
The trial judge, Justice Ayotunde Faji, handed down the jail term after the convict pleaded guilty to a one count charge of illegal drugs dealing brought against him by the National Drug Laws Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) on August 24.
The convict had also pleaded guilty to the charge on August 16, when he was first arraigned before Justice Abdulaziz Anka of the same court before he was transferred to another division of the Federal High Court.
However, at the last sitting of the court, the convict, reversed his earlier plea and pleaded not guilty to the charge.
While reviewing the fact of the case on Friday, the prosecutor, Abu Ibrahim, tendered some exhibits which include; the convict’s confessional statement, international passport, sample and laboratory test analysis of the banned weed and others.
The prosecutor also urged the court to convict and sentence the hard drug merchant.
But the convict’s lawyer, Sunday Ekwo, pleaded with the court to temper justice with mercy while considering his verdict, he told the court that his client was a first time offender without previous criminal record.
Ekwo also urged the court to grant the convict a second chance, as he had promised not to go back to crime.
After listening to the lawyers, 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”.