A 21 year-old Tricyclist, Oroke Michael Chibueze and one Eze Ifeanyi Remigius, were on Wednesday convicted and sentenced to 15 years imprisonment, for trafficking in 1, 455 kilograms of Cannabis Sativa, also known as marijuana and Igbo in Yoruba parlance, by a Lagos Federal High Court.
Justice Garuba Tijjani, slammed the two men with the jail terms after they pleaded guilty to the charges made against them by the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA).
The two convicts, were earlier arraigned before the court alongside a 27 year-old woman, Eze Joy Chioma, sometimes in 2022, on a three count-charge for unlawful possession and transportation of the said banned weed.
Eze Joy Chioma and the first Convict, Eze Ifeanyi Remigius of 2, Oluokun Street, white House bus stop, off Abule Aka road, Okokomaiko, Lagos state, were slammed with two count-charge of unlawful possession of 1,426 kilograms and concealed in 32 and a half bags.
They were said to have warehoused the drug in their kitchen and rooms of their house.
The tricycle operator, was said to have unlawfully transported two brown cartons containing 29 kilograms of cannabis sativa, which he concealed inside his Tricycle, popularly called Keke NAPEP, and kept same at the back of St. Patrick’s Catholic Church Alaba, near Okokomaiko, Lagos State.
Their offences according to the prosecutor, Mr. Umar Hussain, contravened sections 20(c), 11(b) and 12 of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency Act, Cap N30 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004 (As amended). And punishable under the same Act.
Both the convicts and the woman have pleaded not guilty to the charges when they were arraigned.
However, at the resumed hearing of the matter yesterday, the convicts, told the court of their intentions to change their earlier plea of guilty. While the woman, Eze Joy Chioma, maintained her not guilty plea.
Upon the convicts’ intention to change the plea, the court allowed the prosecutor to review the facts of the charge, and tendered exhibits, while adjourned till today for a trial.
Delivering judgment in the charge, Justice Ringim pronounced the two convicts guilty as charged.
However, lawyer to the convicts, Dennis Warri, in his allucutor, pleaded with the court to be lenient in sentencing his clients, whom he said are first time convicts without any previous record of conviction.
Warri, after citing plethoras of legal authorities, urged the court to give his clients an option of fine in lieu of a custodian sentence.
Justice Ringim in his judgment, after considering the counsel’s submission, sentenced the tricyclist to five years imprisonment without option of fine, while the second convict, Eze Ifeanyi Remigius, was sentenced to five years in count one with an option of N1 million and five years in count three without an option of fine.
The court ordered that all the jail-term should run concurrently. Meanwhile, the trial of the woman in the case, Eze Joy Chioma, has been fixed for December 13.