BY OLUGBENGA SOYELE, Lagos
Justice Ayokunle Faji of the Federal High Court in Lagos has convicted and sentenced, a murder suspect, Osaro Egberamwen to four years Imprisonment for unlawful dealing in 240 grams of cannabis sativa, popularly called Indian hemp.
Egberamwen, who is standing trial for allegedly strangling a cab driver to death in 2017, was jailed for procuring the substance for one Okpa Perpetual Sixtus and smuggled the said banned weed into the Ikoyi facility of Nigerian Correctional Services (NCoS).
The judge also sentenced Sixtus to four months Imprisonment for her role in the crime.
The two convicts were charged before the court sometimes in 2020 by the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) on a two-count charge of conspiracy and unlawful dealing in the banned weeds.
According to the prosecutor, Ichakpa Aigoga, the offence is contrary to Section 14(b) and 11(c) of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency Act Cap N30 Laws of the Federation 2004.
During the course of the trial, the Aigoga informed Justice Faji that the first convict, Osaro, on September 24, 2020, while in custody of Nigerian Correctional Services (NCos), awaiting trial for another criminal offence, contacted and hired the second convict through Facebook, to smuggle the said weed in the facility.
He had pleaded not guilty to the charge.
But after the agency presented its evidence, called witnesses and tendered exhibits, the judge convicted and sentenced Osaro to four years on each counts, while the second convicted was sentenced to four months imprisonment on each counts.
The jail terms according to the court are to run concurrently and are to commence from the date of their arrest.
Prior to the hiring of the second convict, Osaro was also said to have contacted and hired one Nwachukwu Amara Grace, though Facebook, in June, 2020, to smuggled 1.02 kilograms of Indian hemp into his cell at the Ikoyi remand Facility.
However, the said Grace had been convicted and sentenced to three months Imprisonment with an option of N50, 000, upon her arraignment and guilty plea, by another Federal High Court judge on August 28, 2020.
Osaro still have a murder charge pending against him before the Lagos State High Court.
He was accused of strangling an UBER driver, named Alex, to death and stealing his car, a KIA Rio, which he later tried to sell in Delta State, in 2017.