Importer Of 40Ft Container Of Fake Tramadol Bags 5 Years Jail Term

 

Story By Gbenga Ogunbufunmi

 

Federal High Court sitting in Lagos presided over by Justice Hadiza Rabiu-Shagari today, sentenced a Lagos based businessman, Ezeanwu Ifeanyi to five years imprisonment for  importing  into the country, a container load of Tramadol and other sex enhancing drugs.

The convict was handed over the sentence after lawyer to the National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration Control (NAFDAC),Mr. Umaru Shamaki has reviewed the facts of the charge, following the change of not guilty plea by the convict.

Ifeanyi was first arraigned before the court sometimes in February, 2015, on a one count charge of unlawful importation of the said drugs.

Apart from series of Tramadol tablets, other banned drugs said to have been imported by the convict are: Ibamol tablet of 50 mg, Heogra tablet of 150 mg and Diarrhea capsule, which are sexual enhance drugs for men.

The offence, according to the NAFDAC is contrary to section 1(a) of the Counterfeit and Fake Drugs and Unwholesome Processed Foods (miscellaneous provision) Act Cap. C34 Law of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004, and punishable under section 3(1) of the same Act.

The convict had pleaded not guilty during his first arraignment, but when the matter came up on Thursday, the convict changed his plea from not guilty to guilty and the matter was consequently adjourned till today for review of fact and sentence.

At the review of the fact of the charge today, the Prosecutor, Shamaki, narrated to court how the convict was arrested by NAFDAC operatives, as well tendered several items which includes convict’s confessional statements, samples of banned drugs among others which were admitted as exhibits.

After review of the fact of the charge, the prosecutor urged the court to sentence the convict according to Section 3(1) of NAFDAC Act.

Umaru told the court that the NAFDAC Act prescribed payment of N500, 000, 00 fine, or a prison term not less than five years and not more than 15 years.

But counsel to the convict, Mrs. Vivian Ekwegh pleaded with the court, to be lenient in sentencing her client.

In her allocutor, Ekwegh said that her client is a first time offender and that he was not the importer of the banned drugs, but a clearing agent, who did not have knowledge of what he was given to clear.

The convict’s lawyer also told the court that upon the arrest of her client, he made several attempt to get the importer of the drugs arrested by giving the phone number of the owner of the container to the Investigating Police Officer, but the man was elusive, as all his phone lines could not go through.

She therefore urged the court to tamper justice with mercy.

In sentencing the convict, Justice Rabiu-Shagari, after listened to the submissions of both parties, said, “the prosecution has been able to prove its case beyond every reasonable doubt. Especially, there is no other way of proving a case than self-admittance”.

The judge said that though she has listen to the plea of mercy and observed the demeanor of the convict which shows that he is remorsful, but that the convict will not go unpunished to serve as deterrent to others who are outside there having the aim of doing same thing.

Rabiu-Shagari consequently sentenced the importer to a five year-jail term.

She however, gave the convict an option of fine of N300, 000, 00.

The charge marked FHC/L/38c/18, against the convict reads: “that you Ezeanwu Ifeanyi, of 2, Rumak Street, Satelite Town, Ojo, Lagos, on or about February 5, 2018, at Danlami Garage, Marina Bridge, Apapa, Lagos, within the jurisdiction of this honourable court, found in possession of fake drugs to wit: 1×40ft container of fake drugs to wit: Tramadol Hydrochloric tablets of 225mg, Tramadol tablets of 250mg, Royal Tramadol of 225mg, Ibamol tablet of 50 mg, Heogra tablet of 150 mg and Diarrhea capsule., and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 1(a) of Counterfeit and Fake drugs and unwholesome process Foods (Miscellaneous provisions) Act Cap. C34, LFN 2004, and punishable under Section 3(1)(a) of the same Act.

 

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