The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) is set to appeal against N700,000 fine option for drug dealers convicted for 75 years.
This is coming after a major drug dealer, Mike Omoarukhe, his manager and three other workers in his cannabis farms were sentenced to 75 years imprisonment by a Federal High Court in Benin.
The convicts were charged in July by the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, in a five count charge number FHC/B/107c/2021 bordering on possession of 183.5 kilograms of cannabis sativa, conspiracy to possess, cultivate and cultivation of 22 hectares of cannabis farms.
Delivering his judgement in the case on Thursday, Justice A.C. Obiozor sitting in Court 2 of the Federal High Court, Benin Judicial Division, sentenced the defendants to 15 years on each of the five counts, bringing the total years of imprisonment to 75 years, which will run concurrently. The judge however gave the convicts an option of N 700,000 fine on all the counts.
NDLEA spokesperson, Femi Babafemi, who confirmed the appeal, said the chairman/chief executive of the agency, Brig. Gen. Mohamed Marwa (retd) had directed that immediate appeal be filed at the appellate court against the option of N700, 000 fine granted the convicts by the trial judge.
NDLEA operatives had on July 1, 2021 stormed the Ughieudu forest, Uhunwonde LGA of Edo State, where six persons: Elijah John; Friday Emma; Itoro Emmanuel; Daniel Emmanuel; Udom Etok and Abraham Monday Thompson were arrested with 50kg cannabis. A follow up operation in the Ughieudu forest on 3rd July 2021, led to the arrest of Emmanuel Ekpeyoung and the total destruction of three cannabis farms with a combined size of 22. 210421 hectares and seizure of 133. 5kg cannabis.