Justice Hadizat Rabiu-Shagari of a Federal High Court, Lagos today sentenced 64 years old Odeyemi Omolola, who is charged before the court alongside a Lagos socialite, Mrs.Funmilola Arike Ogbuaya, who is also known as Funmilola Ogundipe, popularly known is social circle as Ariket, for attempting to export 1.595 kilogrammes of Cocaine to Saudi Arabia, to 25 imprisonment.
The court sentenced the convict, who is also known as Ariyo Monsurat Olabisi, after she change her plea in an amended five counts charge.
The convict was arraigned on three counts charge of conspiracy, unlawful possession of banned drug and attempt to export the said banned drug to Saudi Arabia.
The Lagos socialite Ariket is facing charges bordering on conspiracy, aiding and abetting and procuring of the said banned drug for the convict.
The offences according to the Prosecutor, Mr. Abu Ibrahim, are contrary to sections 14(b), 11(b) and 19 of the National Drugs Laws Enforcement Agency Act Cap N30, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.
The two accused persons had pleaded guilty when they were both arraigned before the court, sometimes in May, this year.
However, at the resumed trial of the two accused persons today, the convict, Omolara, through her lawyer, Mr. King Wilson, informed the court of her intention to change her plea, particularly, on count four of the charge, which bothered on attempt to export 1.595 kilogrammes of Cocaine to Saudi Arabia.
Her request was granted by the Presiding Judge, Justice Rabiu-Shagari, who ordered that the charge be read to her again.
And the count of the charge was read as: “that you Odeyemi Omolara a.k.a Ariyo Monsurat Olabisi, of 27, Adebule Street, Off Palm Avenue, Mushin, Lagos, on or about February24, 2017, at Murtala Muhammad International Airport, Ikeja, Lagos, during the outward clearance of passengers of Egypt Air Flight to Saudi Arabia, at the Egypt Air check-in-counter, without lawful authority exported 1.595 kilogrammes of Cocaine, a narcotic drug and you thereby committed an offence contrary to and punishable under section 19 of the National Drugs Laws Enforcement Agency Act Cap N30, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004”.
Upon reading of the charge, the convict pleaded guilty and the prosecutor urged the court to pronounce her guilty as charged, and to permit him to review the facts of the case against her and to tender some the exhibits which she was arrested with.
Some of the exhibits tendered by the prosecutor includes the convicts five statements both in English and Yoruba versions, ECOWAS traveling passport with number A50324236, certificate of test analysis, drug analysis report, Egypt Air ticket, a large envelope and two transparent evidence pouches where some of the seized Cocaine was packaged.
All these were admitted as exhibits A to L1, by the court.
- Mrs. Funmilola Ogbuaya a.k.a. Ariket, still standing trial
Attempt by the convict’s lawyer, Mr. Wilson to convince the court to suspend pronouncement on her sentence hit the brick wall, as the prosecutor, Mr. Ibrahim urged the court to go ahead and pronounce the sentence, after citing several plethora authorities.
In sentencing the convict, the Presiding judge, Justice Rabiu-Shagari after listened to the submissions of both parties said, “I have listened carefully to the defendant’s counsel, it is true that sentence is not for punitive but reformatory and to serve as deterrent to others. Consequently, the convict is hereby sentence to 25 years imprisonment, starting from when she was first arrested”.
The judge also ordered that the ECOWAS passports and the Egypt Air ticket be forfeited to the Federal Government of Nigeria, while adjourned the trial of the Lagos socialite Arike till October 25 and 26, 2017.
It would be recalled that the Lagos socialite Ariket, recently forfeited nine landed properties to the Federal government of Nigeria, when she evaded arrest over alleged drug dealing. But later surrendered herself to the agency and she was arraigned alongside the convict in an amended charge marked FHC/L/124c/2017.
Properties temporary forfeited to the Federal government of Nigeria by the socialite includes: 146, Idimu Road,Alimosho, Lagos, 235, Ikotun-Idimu Road, Ikotun, Lagos, 18, Olayiwola Shittu Street, Abaranje, Ikotun, 13B, Ladipo Kuku, Off Allen Avenue, Ikeja.
Others include: 8, Olufemi Avenue, Omiasoro, Ilesa, Ilesa East LGA, Osun State, 6, Hakeem-One, Momoh Close, Governor’s Road, Ikotun, a plot of land at council area, Cele Bus stop, Idimu-Ikotun, and a plot of land along Papalanto-Shagamu Road, Omu-Penpe Village, Obafemi-Owode LGA, Ogun State.
The above-mentioned properties were ordered to be temporary forfeited to the Federal government by the Court, Lagos, sequel to a Motion Ex-parte filed and argued before the court by the NDLEA prosecutor, Mr. Abu Ibrahim
In urging the court to grant the application the prosecutor had told the court that the application was brought pursuant to section 44(2)(k) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended in 2011), Section 3(1)(a)(c), 33(1)(a), 2 and 3, 36(b) of the National Drugs Laws Enforcement Agency Act Cap N30, Law of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 and undef inherent jurisdiction of the Federal High Court.
Ibrahim had urged the court to grant the forfeiture of the listed properties of Mrs. Funmilola Arike Ogbuaya, a.K.a. Ariket, Funmilola Ogundipe, being investigated for offences of conspiracy to traffic in narcotic drugs, drug trafficking and money laundering.
Abu also urged the court to permit or authorise his agency to place the said listed properties under seal pending the arrest and prosecution of Ariket.
During the arraignment of the socialite and her convicted accomplice, the prosecutor, Mr. Ibrahim, had informed the court that the agency did not opposed to admitting her to bail, but informed the court that the socialite had once jumped bail, when she was being investigated for another offence.