By OLUGBENGA SOYELE, Lagos
Justice Mojisola Olatoregun of the Federal High Court in Lagos yesterday convicted two Brazilians, Lima Pereira Diego, and Dias DOS Santos Marcia Cristina, for bringing into Nigeria 23.895 kilograms of Cocaine.
Justice Olatoregun, convicted the two foreigners after they had pleaded guilty to the charges filed against them by the National Drugs Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA).
However, the court could not sentence the convicts because their lawyer, Niyi Onifade, pleaded with the court for an adjournment, so that he can study the case file and know how to conduct their allocutor (plea for mercy).
Following the request of the lawyer, the court adjourned till July 5, to pronounce sentence on the convicts.
The convicts were earlier arraigned before the court on April 26, on a three-count charge bordering on conspiracy and unlawful importation of the said narcotic. They were however declined to take their plea, on the ground that they do not have confidence in the interpreter, one Mr. Adeniran O, provided for the by their country’s diplomatic service.
Upon the objection raised against the interpreter and their refusal to take their plea, the court had adjourned till today, for arraignment.
At the resumed hearing of the matter on Thursday, the prosecutor, Abu Ibrahim, informed the court of the agency’s decision to withdraw the charge of conspiracy against the Brazilians. Consequently, they were arraigned on charge of unlawful importation of the said prohibited drug.
The offence according to the prosecutor is contrary to and punishable under section11(a) of the NDLEA Act Cap N30, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.
The duo pleaded guilty to the charge.
Following their guilty plea, the court ordered the prosecution to review the fact of the case.
In reviewing the fact of the case, the prosecutor informed the court that a Brazilian, Lima Pereira Diego, and his female counterpart, Marcia Cristina, were arrested by the NDLEA Operatives at the arrival Hall of Murtala Muhammad International Airport, Ikeja, Lagos, on April 18, 2017, during an inward clearance of passengers of an Emirates Airlines flight from their country, Brazil, with 23.895 kilograms of cocaine.
Abu also told the court that, while Pereira Erick Diego, was alleged to have imported 14.495 kilograms of Cocaine, Marcia Cristina was said to have imported 9.4 kilograms of the same.
The prosecutor also tendered the seized drugs, the convicts international passport, some foreign currencies, their confessional statements, reports of the test on the drugs, which were admitted by the court as exhibits.
After given the fact of case, the prosecutor urged the court to convict them as charged.
The judge had ordered that the convicts be remanded in Kirikiri Prison pending the next sitting of the court on the case.