Legal/Judiciary

Drug trafficking: Christ Living Hope Church founder arraigned

By Francis IWUCHUKWU

The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) has arraigned the Founder and General Overseer of Christ Living Hope Church, Reverend Ekwem Emmanuel Ugochukwu who was arrested for allegedly having Cannabis Sativa.

He was arraigned by the NDLEA before a Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos State, presided over by Justice Daniel Osiagor.

The cleric who was arrested with the banned weed on March 7 during the outward clearance of passengers of Ethiopian Airline flight to Kenya at screening 1, Departure Hall of the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Ikeja-Lagos.

Reverend Ugochukwu was brought before Justice Daniel Osiagor on Tuesday on a count charge of unlawful export of the said banned weed.

The offence according to the prosecutor, Augustine Nwagu, contravened Section 11(b) of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency Act Cap N30 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 and punishable under the same Act.

But the General Overseer pleaded not guilty which prompted the prosecutor to ask for a trial date and urged the court to remand him in NCoS’ custody.

However, the defendant’s lawyer, Benson Ndakara told the court that he was not opposed to the trial date as requested by the prosecutor but said he had filed his client’s bail application and the same has been served on the prosecutor.

Upon taking arguments on the bail application from both parties, Justice Osiagor, admitted the General Overseer to bail in the sum of N2 million with one surety.

Justice Osiagor ordered that the surety must be a Director either in the Federal or Lagos State government’s establishment.

The judge, while adjourning the matter till June 26, for trial, ordered that the defendant be remanded in NCoS’ custody till the perfection of bail terms.

The charge against the General Overseer reads: “that you Ekwem Emmanuel Ugochukwu, male, adult, on or about the 7th day of March 2022 during the outward clearance of passengers of Ethiopian Airline flight to Kenya at screening 1, Departure Hall of Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Ikeja-Lagos within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court without lawful authority exported 40 grammes of Cannabis Sativa, a narcotic drug similar to Cocaine, Heroin and LSD and thereby committed an offence contrary to and punishable under Section 11(b) of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency Act Cap N30 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.”

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