Justice Mojisola Olatoregun of Federal High Court in Lagos yesterday convicted and sentenced a Lagos based trader, Okwudili Eboro to 10 years imprisonment for drug trafficking.
The judge handed down the verdict after Eboro pleaded guilty to a one count charge of illicit drug dealing brought against him by the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA).
The convict, who was arraigned before the court in November 2012, had initially pleaded not guilty to the charge but he changed his plea on Thursday after he was re-arraigned by the NDLEA.
In the charge, the convict was said to have been arrested in September 2012, at the departure hall of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, during the outward clearance of an Ethiopian Airline flight to Addis Abba.
The prosecutor, Fingere Dinneys had told the court that the convict, without lawful authority exported about 4.3kg of Methamphetamine, a drug similar to Cocaine and Heroin.
He said that the offence contravened the provisions of sections 11 (b) of the NDLEA Act, Cap N30, Laws of the Federation, 2004
While reviewing the facts of the case Dinneys tendered various evidence before the court including a statement of the accused, a request for scientific aid form, a drug analysis form as well as a bulk exhibit.
In his statement made to the NDLEA which was read in open court, the convict said he was a trader at Lagos Island before his business suffered a collapse.
According to him, in the process of looking for help he came across an old friend, one Daniel who promised to help him with the sum of 5000 dollars, if he could transport a bag of Metaphetamine to Indian.
“I decided to do it because my wife was pregnant at that time, and also had a high blood pressure,” his statement said
Following his guilty plea, the trial judge, Justice Olatoregun convicted him as charged.
However, before his sentence, counsel to the accused Mrs Vivienne Ekwegh, urged the court to tamper justice with mercy.
She said that the accused was a first offender and urged the court to be lenient with his sentence.
Delivering judgment, Justice Olatoregun sentenced the accused to a term of 10 years imprisonment beginning from the date of his arrest.
She also ordered that the convict forfeits the sum of 2000 dollars recovered from him during his arrest, to the Federal Government.
The judge however gave the convict an option of N10 million fine.