Legal/Judiciary

Court jails Indian hemp dealer 13 years

Justice Tijjani Ringim of a Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos State, Nigeria on Thursday convicted and sentenced a dealer in Cannabis Sativa popularly called marijuana, Saidu Sulaiman to 13 years Imprisonment.

The judge decided after the drug dealer had changed his ‘not guilty plea’ which he had pleaded when he previously arraigned before the court.

It would be recalled that Sulaiman was first arraigned before Justice (Professor) Chuka Austine Obiozor, in early 2019, where he pleaded not guilty to two counts charge of unlawful dealing in 85.4 Kilograms of Cannabis Sativa, which he smuggled into the country from the Benin Republic.

The offences, according to the prosecutor, Oluwafemi Adebayo are contrary to and punishable under 14(b) and 11(a) of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) Act Cap N30 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004.

But the defendant had pleaded not guilty to the charges.

However, following the transfer of Justice Obiozor to another jurisdiction of the court, the convict’s case file was taken over by Justice Ringim who took over from former trial judge, and he was consequently re-arraigned.

Upon his re-arraignment before Justice Ringim, the convict pleaded guilty to the two counts, the development that made the court called on the prosecution to review the fact of the case.

In reviewing the fact of the charge, the prosecutor, Adebayo told the court that the convict, a resident of new garage Alaba Rago in Ojo Local Government Area of Lagos State was arrested on November 28, 2018, at Custom checking point, Gbaji, along Badagry-Seme expressway, Badagry, with 85.4 Kilograms of Marijuana.

He told the court that the convict conspired with one Rabe, a.k.a. now at Large to smuggle the banned substance to the country from Cotonou.

After reviewing the fact of the charge, the prosecutor urged the court to convict and sentence the convict in accordance with the law he was charged with.

The convict in his allocutus pleaded with the court to temper justice with mercy in sentencing him.

Justice Ringim in his judgment, after citing several plethoras of Judicial authorities, sentenced the convict to eight years on count one and five years on count two.

The judge, however, ordered that the jail term should run concurrently.

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