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Cocaine : Brazil Returnee bagged 18 Months Jail Term

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A Brazil Returnee who was arrested for smuggling Cocaine into the country, Okoewo Ikechukwu, was today, convicted and sentenced to 18 months imprisonment by a Lagos Federal High Court.

Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke, who presided over the court handed down the verdict after the prosecutor, Mrs. Juliana Imaobong Iroabuchi, reviewed the facts of the charge against the convict.

The convict was arrested by operatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) on January 17, 2022, at the ‘E’ Arrival Hall of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Ikeja, Lagos during the inward clearance of passengers on Ethiopian Airways flight from Brazil through Addis—Ababa to Lagos, with the drug which he Ingested.

The 43 years old Brazil returnee, was arraigned before the court on a five count amended charge of conspiracy and unlawful importation of the said prohibited drug.

The convict was alleged to have made false declaration of assets, failure to disclose assets and refusal to answer quetions to give required information.

The prosecutor further told the court that the defendant conspired with an alleged drug baron, Obi Nonso, domiciled in Brazil to commit the alleged illicit act.

The prosecution said the offences committed by the defendant is contrary to and punishable under section 11(a) and 14 (b) of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency Act, Cap N 30 Law of the Federation of Nigeria 2004.

The offence committed by the convict is also said to be contrary to section 35( 3) a,b,c of the NDLEA Act

The convict however, denied the allegations and pleaded not guilty to the charge. He was consequently admitted to bail in various terms.

However, when the matter came up two weeks ago, the convict changed his plea. The situation, which made the court to call on the prosecution to review they facts of the charge.

At the resumed hearing of the case while reviewing the facts of the case, the prosecutor called one Tyav Ahangba John, a Superintendent of Narcotic, who tendered several exhibits which includes; the Convict’s confessional statements, international passport, seized drugs (which he excreted), report of laboratory analysis and others.

These exhibits were admitted and marked as Exhibits “E series.

Following the admissibility of the exhibits by the court, the prosecutor asked the court to Convict and sentence the defendant in accordance with sections 274(2) and 356(2) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA) 2015.

But counsel to the convict, Barrister Uche Okoronkwo of Minerva Legal, in his allucutor, pleaded with the court to tamper justice with mercy.

Okoronkwo while citing plethoras of authorites, said his client, who is a barber in Brazil, was deceived into the crime by a client, who had sought his assistance.

Okoronkwo while cited section 311(3) of ACJA 2015, pleaded with the court to consider the option of fine in lieu of custodian sentence.

Justice Aneke after hearing both counsel, sentenced the Convict to 18 months imprisonment on each of the five counts.

The judge however fine the defendant in the sum of N1 million, in lieu of the jail terms and granted an order that the excreted drug be destroyed after 90 days, if there is no appeal against the judgment.

The judge also ordered that the interim forfeiture order made in respect of the Convict’s money in the sum of N4, 413, 110.03 million, domiciled in Access bank Plc account number 0024517899, be finally forfeited to the Federal government of Nigeria.

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