Story by Gbenga Ogunbufunmi
A Federal High Court, Lagos, today, convicted and sentenced a trader, Mrs. Ezeano Deborah Ifeoma, to five years imprisonment for trafficking in hard drug known as Methamphetamine.
Deborah popularly called Mama Chika, in Otto market, Lagos Mainland Local Government Area, Lagos, where she ply her trade, was given the jail term by Justice Jude Dagat, after finding her guilty of one count charge of trafficking in 5 kilograms of Methamphetamine.
The convict, according to the prosecuting agency, the National Drug Laws Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) was arrested at his Otto shop sometimes in November 2014, after the Customs License agent, whom she gave the ‘consignment’ for onward export to South Africa.
Following her arrest, she was arraigned before the Court on December 22, 2014, on the charge bordering on unlawful export of the said substance.
The charge against the convict reads: “that you Ezeano Deborah Ifeoma, Female, Adult on or about the 12th day of November 2014 at Sahcol Cargo export shed of the Muritala Mohammed International Airport, lkeja Lagos, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, without lawful authority exported 5.0 Kilogrammes of Methamphetamine, a narcotic drug Similar to Cocaine, Heroin or 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 2004”.
The charge, she pleaded not guilty to and admitted to bail in various terms.
During the pendency of the charge, the prosecuting agency through its lawyer, Mr. Ichakpa Oigoga, called seven witnesses who include the arresting officer, investigating officer, forensic analyst and some others, as well tendered the seized drug, the result of laboratory test of the drug and others.
However, the convict only testified for herself.
Delivering judgement on the charge today, Justice Dagat, before pronouncing the convict guilty as charged, ruled that the prosecution has successful prove the charge against the trader beyond every reasonable doubt.
Justice Dagat also held that the defence put up by the convict was not enough to absolve her of the charge.
Consequently, the judge pronounced the trader guilty as charged.
Following the judge’s verdict, counsel to the convict, Mr. E. U. Okenyi, in his allocutor, pleaded with the court to tamper justice with mercy in sentencing his client.
Okenyi also urged the judge not to award the prescribed and maximum sentence to be lenient to the convict.
Justice Dagat after listened to the convict’s counsel plea for mercy, sentenced her to five years imprisonment starting from today.