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Court Sentences Surety To two Years Imprisonment For Using Fake Documents

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Justice Nicholas Oweibo of the Federal High Court, Lagos today sentenced a professional surety, Jude Okpala (a. k. a Stephen Ekpani) to two years imprisonment or an option of N60, 000 fine in the alternative for aiding the escape of one Mathew Emmy who was standing trial for alleged drug trafficking from the custody of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency.

Justice Oweibo sentenced the professional surety to the term of imprisonment after the convict pleaded guilty to the two counts of aiding the escape of a defendant from the custody of the NDLEA and obstructing the anti-narcotic agency from prosecuting Matthew Emmy.

Jude Okpala who is a professional surety was said to have presented fake documents to the court and the NDLEA to secure the bail of one Mathew Emmy who was standing trial for drug trafficking offences, consequent upon which the said Mathew Emmy was able to escape after being granted bail by the court.

When the matter came up for trial on Wednesday , the prosecutor, Mr Augustine Nwagwu told the court that he has a two counts charge pending before the court and pleaded with the court to order that the charge be read so that the defendant can take his plea.

Following the reading of the charge , the defendant pleaded guilty to the two counts.

Consequent upon the guilty plea of the defendant, the prosecutor Augustine Nwagwu told the court that the prosecution is ready to review the facts of the case and in doing so, all the documents tendered by Jude Okpala to secure the bail of Mathew Emmy which was said to be fake including the signature on it and the passport photographs which was said to be at variance with the real photographs of Okpala.

After the review of the fact, Nwagwu urged the court to convict the defendant based on the admittance of guilt and the evidence placed before the court.
Justice Oweibo in his ruling convicted the surety as charged.
Following his conviction, the defendant’s counsel, Chief Benson Ndakara pleaded with the court to have mercy on the convicts, saying the convict is a first time offender who did not waste the time of the court before he pleaded guilty.
Following the allocutus, Justice Oweibo while passing judgement sentenced Jude Okpala to two years imprisonment or a fine of N60, 000 in the alternative.

The charge against the defendant read:

That you JUDE OKPALA a.k.a STEPHEN EKPANISI, Male, Adult sometime in July 2010 at Lagos within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court aided Okpala Mathew Emmy who was standing trial on Charge No. FHC/L/217c/10 to escape from lawful custody and thereby committed an offence contrary to and punishable under Section 17(b) of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency Act, Cap N30, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004.

COUNT Il
That you JUDE OKPALA a.k.a STEPHEN EKPANISI, Male, Adult sometime in July 2010 willfully obstructed the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency from prosecuting Okpala Matthew Emmy on Charge No. FHC/L/217c/10 and thereby committed an offence contrary to and punishable under Section 49(a) of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency Act, Cap N30, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004.

In another related drug matter, Justice Nicholas Oweibo of the same Federal High Court, Lagos on Wednesday convicted and sentenced a clearing agent, Gbadamosi Quadri Sunkanmi to three years of imprisonment or a fine of N1.5 million million naira in the alternative.

Gbadamosi who claimed to be a clearing agent at Apapa Port, Lagos was convicted and sentenced to the two years imprisonment term after he pleaded guilty to the one count charge filed by NDLEA prosecutor, Mr Raphael Hinmikaiye.

When the matter came up for trial on Wednesday, Hinmikaiye told the court that he has a one count charge pending and urged the court to direct that the charge be read so that the defendant can take his place.

Following the reading of the charge and the defendant place of guilt to same, the fact of the case was reviewed by the prosecutor Mr Raphael Hinmikaiye while he alao tendered all the exhibits involved and statement of the accused.

After the review of fact of the case, Hinmikaiye urged the court to convict the defendant, Gbadamosi Quadri Sunkanmi as charged based on his plea of guilt and evidence before the court.

Consequently Justice Oweibo convicted the defendant based on his plea of guilt and evidence placed before the court and in line with the relevant provisions of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act , ACJA.

I’m her allocutus, defense counsel, Bolanle Kolawole pleaded with the court to have mercy on the convict , adding that the convict is a first time offender who did not waste the time of the court and has been remorseful since his arrest.

Passing judgement, Justice Oweibo sentenced the convict to three years imprisonment or a fine of N1. 5 million in the alternative.

The charge against the convict reads; That you, GBADAMOSI QUADRI SUNKANMI, Male, Adult, on or about the 11th day of January, 2022, at Tincan Island Port, Lagos, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, without lawful authority imported 17.3 Kilogrammes of Cannabis indica which is a narcotic drug similar to Cocaine, Heroin or LSD and thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 11(a) of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency Act Cap N30 laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004.

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